Whitley @ The Hi Fi (with Esther Holt) – 19 Jul ’13

I still remember the first time I saw Whitley aka Lawrence Greenwood perform way back in 2008 as a support act (February 2008, if my memory serves me correctly…ok I went hunting for a ticket stub to confirm). I was immediately captivated and despite the simplicity of a solo performance I got my hands on a copy of Go Forth, White Mammoth as quickly as I could and played it…over and over and over. Then things went quiet, and the only Whitley I heard came from my speakers or earphones when I decided to go through one of those obsessive artist or album phases at various times over the years. That changed this year, with the release of Even The Stars Are A Mess and a tour, including a stopover at the Hi Fi last week.

Having arrived a little late, I barely caught a minute of Tully on Tully (bad timing on my part, what I heard sounded good!) but Esther Holt was an absolute delight with sweet vocals and gorgeous harmonies. Having only heard Esther singing on Whitley’s ‘My Heart Is Not a Machine’ to date, it was an opportunity to hear her featuring on vocals, banjo and keys with her own material. Think indie folk-pop, with a little country and a rock edge at times. But really, definitions and genre don’t matter – it’s catchy and there’s definitely something intriguing. The opening of Countless Verse reminded me a little of Regina Spektor…I’ll keep listening.

Esther Holt @ The Hi Fi

Esther Holt @ The Hi Fi

 

Whitley opened in darkness with ‘The Ballad of Terence McKenna’ and followed with my favourite track from the new album, TV. There is something unmistakably engrossing about the almost rolling beat and opening line, Buried in my heart is a secret I must keep…

While the evening showcased the more considered and somewhat barer arrangements of the new album, older material was not forgotten with a beautiful rendition of ‘Bright White Lights’, and The Piece You Took From Me (another win – my favourite track from Go Forth, White Mammoth!) and as far back as the beige ‘Submarine’ album for ‘All is Whole’. There was a comfortable relaxed vibe around the evening, aided by the casual banter between songs about life between albums, guitar tunings or tales from the tour but the night was not complete without its corny (albeit fun) memory of a cover of ‘Dancing Queen’ to end the evening.

I’d unintentionally chosen a spot that drew all the tall kids to me like a magnet, so no pics of Whitley this time.

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