White Williams / Ecstatic Sunshine La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC January 15

Twenty-four-year-old White Williams has attracted a steady stream of attention since releasing his debut Smoke on Tigerbeat6 last fall. Part of the attention has had to do with a high-profile tour alongside current indie dance stars Girl Talk and Dan Deacon, but a good chunk of Williams’ allure also has to do with the effortless way he channels the ghosts of T. Rex and Pretty In Pink cool onto a bed of disaffected electro pop that hints equally at Roxy Music and OMD. It also helps that he’s been on the road for months now, without much of a break. His current headlining tour brought him to Montreal for a Tuesday night show alongside Baltimore noise rock trio Ecstatic Sunshine. Perhaps it was the cold weeknight or the fact that a 300-person venue may still be a bit too ambitious for Williams, who doesn’t really have as many fans yet as he does people willing check him out, but the evening’s sparse attendance set the tone for a charming but altogether tepid set of performances. Ecstatic Sunshine took the stage at 9:30 and belted through three long feedback-driven jams that were reminiscent of a Krautrock-ish Black Dice, only to abandon the stage 25 minutes later as people were just starting to get into their groove. The three boys in the White Williams band came on soon after, looking tired and unenthusiastic, and complaining of trouble at the border. The renditions of songs from his only album were decidedly off-the-cuff, with White Williams programming his own effects boxes and samples as he sang, which made for occasionally jerky transitions. But the band have youth on their side and Williams himself doesn’t look old enough to shave yet, so their befuddling between-song chatter and awkward stage presence made for a flawed but fun performance. White Williams looks like the boy-next-door trying his hand at karaoke, and it’s hard not to root for him, but fortunately he has the tunes to back it up.