Whitney wow their London fans with an accomplished set
Whitney are a very new band and as such their nerves equal the hype of the crowd. These are the gigs that are always a pleasure to be at, as no one is quite sure how it will go and so the excitement is tangible. Whitney take to the stage around quarter past nine, but not to begin the show but to set up. A short glimpse like this is common for new bands and can sometimes dampen the hype, however, the band leave for long enough for it to brew back up.
Opener ‘Dave’s Song’ begins as laid back as the band. Immediately the group fall into their somewhat signature bounce and it isn’t long before the audience are subconsciously led to follow suit, such is the power of Whitney‘s song writing and musicianship. Soon into the song Max‘s guitar playing shines with the potential to give modern music listeners a reason to enjoy the guitar and it’s true capabilities again. Their latest single ‘No Matter Where We Go’ follows and sets the precedent for the rest of the show. The levels have been sorted and the band can fully settle in and do what they came to do.
Julien appears humbled by the audience’s response to the first few songs and thanks everyone for buying tickets so early – the show has been sold out for weeks. The band then go straight into ‘Golden Days’ with the opening guitar riff just audible over the crowds response. Julien‘s falsetto sounds as soulful as the record and in a live situation can truly be appreciated.
Max and Julien, being the founders, songwriters and the driving force behind Whitney, take the limelight with their supporting band of friends, creating a musical semi circle behind, leaving the crowd to fill the space before them. And that is what a Whitney gig feels like, as if you are being let into their personal space to look and listen to what are at their core, very intimate songs.
The first of two covers the band play comes in the form of ‘So Sad’ by the Everly Brothers. The band gives it their own twist and more than make it their own all whilst keeping the distinctive harmonies of the original in tact.
Their use of brass, and their unique songwriting style put Whitney into a niche category- and it’s one that engrosses the entire audience. Their music never feels fabricated or false, but more to the point, the band seem to have finally found what they’re great at.
Whitney rip through their instrumental track ‘Red Moon’ and the musicianship of the rest of the band gets its rightful showcase- in particular the trumpet skills of Will Miller. At one point the rest of the boys take a knee and give Will the stage for a trumpet solo. Not something that you’d expect to see at a show like this but it goes down a storm.
An encore of Bob Dylan‘s ‘Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You’ is an unexpected surprise and one that brings to light a previously unrecognised influence in the form of the Band. The performance harks straight back to the ramshackle former Dylan backing group and collaborators.
For a brand new band, saving the most popular song until last make sense logistically but musically ‘No Woman’ seems an odd choice. However, in practice, it made perfect sense. With its mellow intro and first verse, it teases the crowd. The band then burst into a souped up chorus and the resulting crescendo – after every member has a final sip of wine – is nothing short of brilliant. If only it lasted two, three or four times as long. See Whitney if you get the chance.
This Whitney article was written by Glen Marr, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Photo credit : @alistairbean