Scenes From Last Night's White Denim In-Store at Steven Alan.

The rain could've ruined last night's grand opening of the new Steven Alan and Shinola Watches store at 3505 Knox Street last night. In the end, though, it actually might've helped matters.

No, the full-scale outdoor stage that had been set up in the parking lot outside of the store's back door, right along Cole Avenue, wouldn't end up being used at this affair — the torrential downpours made sure of that. But, still, the North Texas-bred, Austin-based White Denim, who had been booked to play this Americana clothing store's opening, would play on regardless.

They wouldn't start at 7:30 p.m. as originally intended, though. At that point, the rain was coming down as heavy as it would all night. Instead, the band gathered backstage at that hour, game-planning their efforts. In the end, the members decided simply to move the show inside the store itself — a smaller-scale offering, to be sure, and one that infringed upon the partying socialites (and, oddly, a wandering Don Nelson) inside.

But it was a fine move, turns out: Rather than the outdoor festival vibe that the intended-for-use outdoor stage would've provided the band's set, this new, indoor setting gave the band's hour-long offering at the store an almost South by Southwest-like appeal. Plus, considering that the band's just last year performed at the much-larger Granada Theater, the more intimate setting was a welcome one.

As the band moved its gear from the outdoor stage to a small floor space near the back of the store — nestled in among racks of designer button-downs ($178), watches ($550) and T-shirts ($110) — the members and its audience, which encircled the band some 20 feet deep, alike joked about the house-show feel of this different set-up.

That was a welcome change, but not one without complications: Without the proper amps on hand, frontman James Petralli's vocals were piped in through the store's P.A. rather than an amp. As a result, you couldn't hear his singing over his band's music, right by the performance, which started shortly after 8:30. You could, however, hear him loud and clear at the front of the store, where the band's playing actually sounded a little faint. The sonic sweet spot, instead was in the middle of the store — assuming one didn't mind not seeing the band through the crowd as it played.

It was a give-and-take, to be sure. But the band sounded great nonetheless, laughing with the crowd as it ripped through some of its older songs (read: “Shake Shake Shake” and a number of cuts off of 2011's remarkable D) before spending the last 30 minutes of the performance playing songs from the soon-to-be-released Corsicana Lemonade. Those new songs, it should be noted, sounded great — a little bit softer around the edges than earlier White Denim cuts, but with an immediately catchy, more accessible, R&B-ish appeal.

A little after 9:30, the treat of a free show finally came to its end.

“Buy some clothes, everybody,” Petralli said as the set wound down. “It's why we're really here.”

Well, some people maybe.














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