Thursday, June 22, 2017

Whitney + Girl Ray. Live at Mama Roux's 21/6/17 Review.

Mama Roux's is an old warehouse that through painstaking attention to detail been transformed into a 1930's speak-easy. With fake buildings, lights that don't really work and a balcony where audience members can watch bands while sat at a table. The current heatwave made the illusion feel even more realistic, the only things missing were the moonshine and the 1930's jazz soundtrack.

London's 'estrogen pop' group Girl Ray (6.4/10) kicked things off with their summery lo-fi indie rock. Drawing on the washed out sounds of Beach Coast with a Nico-ish style of vocals. While they've got the knack for washed out indie rock, a highlight of their set was a 'new song' simply titled 'rock out' that already hints at a grungy change of direction.

Whitney's D├ębut album 'Light upon the lake' was one of 2016's best. A gorgeous album of bitter-sweet breakup songs which already stands as a classic example of Americana.
They may play sad songs but Whitney like to have fun. Even before they'd officially started playing two of them were messing around with the bongos. Once Mama Roux's had filled up the heat was almost unbearable. Whitney had the difficult task of playing an hour's set despite only having a 30 minute long album.
Right from 'The Falls' providing a lively start to the set. Whitney had the whole crowd singing along to every world. The only problem Whitney had was getting people to stay quiet for the delicate ballad 'Light upon the lake'. While they may sound understated on record Whitney are experienced virtuoso musicians, who've played in a variety of indie bands. Many of their songs were fleshed out and livened up through added guitar solos and drum fills. There's nowhere Whitney sound better than on a stage. Julien Ehrlich provides more than just his unique vocal style he effortlessly mixes playing drums while singing and he is consistently witty. He introduced 'golden days' by saying that it's about being unhappy in a relationship and that "even if you don't divorce you're still gonna hate each other".
A surprise kiss between Julien and Whitney's bassist was shrugged off with Julien saying that they've kissed on-stage about two hundred times but "that one was a bit gross to me as it was at a different angle" than usual. Whitney padded out the set with their recent cover and single 'You've got a Woman'. Julien requested that the audience not take any photos for this one as it was a newer song and the audience obliged. Yet Whitney played so perfectly they needn't have bothered. Despite being an American band Whitney were struggling with the heat (to which a bottle of water got thrown at him in reply), and the drunken heckles. 'I can't understand a word your saying' admitted Julien. After a quick "sweat break" encore Whitney were back on-stage. They played a fantastic new song which is about The "D-Word" (depression). And strangely enough, a quick cover of the 'Gilmore Girls' theme tune, "We don't like the show but we like the song". Whitney saved the best for last with a fantastic jam session that showed off their musical abilities and the song that started everybody's love affair with the band, 'No Woman' which inspired a mass sing-along and a fitting end to a genuinely special night.


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