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White Williams Gets Ill

CAMBRIDGE: The electro-pop master battles a cold and blows minds at tour opener.

As his debut album, Smoke continues its assault on the blogosphere, Cleveland-bred synth-pop shredder White Willamskicked off his latest U.S. tour to a packed house at the Middle EastSaturday night (Jan. 12). Despite feeling a touch under the weather,the clean-cut Williams (a.k.a. Joe Williams) dexterously chatted withthe vociferous crowd, members of which demanded “more funk,” whileWilliams flawlessly arranged a sick mix of beats and synths on anunobtrusive Mac.

From Williams’ sleek, languid vocals, andT-Rex-inspired smacking riffs on “Headlines” to the creepy electronicticks and chirps on “The Shadow,” Williams and crew’s explosive energywas off the hook. And he hardly needed a lightshow to compliment thereverberating, club-tastic batch of tunes, for countless excited fanswere photographing the performance; at times it seemed as if a strobelight was used to enhance the band’s animated, guitar-laced pop, aneffect that peaked during “Going Down.” For a performer nursing apretty serious cold, White Williams more than pulled through for aglorious night out, and many thrilled concertgoers raised their glassesin appreciation.

We asked: White Williams is the stage name for Joe Williams. If you were to perform under a different name, what would it be and why?