Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Whitney put politics to the side and put on a brave face to a sold out Koko

11 November 2016, 18:16 | Written by John Bell

If not obvious from its name, Americana is a loose but bona fide section of music charged with a patriotic energy inspired by the country’s musical past and a somewhat simplified set of national values. Sewing together elements of folk, blues, country, and rock and roll, it is a patchwork of pride that is as much an attitude towards music as it is a form of it.

As Giovanni Russonello elloquently put it, Americana makes up “a nostalgic musical stomping ground where musicians act as ambassadors for the country’s past and its indelible ideals: community, endeavour, democracy, frontierism”.

How sad it is, then, to see its latest bright-eyed ambassadors Whitney weighed down with palpable disappointment at the outcome of their nation’s presidential election as they grace the stage of Koko in Camden tonight. The Chicago outfit had been particularly vocal on Twitter about their disdain for their new President-elect in the run up to the show, and soon after opening on “Dave’s Song” singer and drummer Julian Erlich attempts to address the elephant in the room, though seems to not find the words he’s looking for. “Lets just not talk about it”, he accepts, receiving various “Fuck Trump!”s back in support.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, and Erlich admits early on that this show is one they’ve been especially looking forward to. And so they should, too; selling out Koko off the back of a debut record in the same year is no mean feat, and there is a devout appreciation for both Whitney and tonight’s support Julia Jacklin, who fits the bill perfectly with her own brand of bluesy songwriting.

There’s an appreciation for each other onstage too, as Erlich makes out with the band’s bassist; it’s become something of a ritual with every performance now, and whilst no one's really sure why, it seems to lift their spirits as they reel of numbers from their debut Light Upon The Lake. Erlich seems galvanised as his drumming is given a punchy force tonight, high up in the mix and rife with ad lib fills. It sounds great, particularly for upbeat numbers like “The Falls” and “Golden Days”.

Indeed, despite their markedly downhearted start, thankfully Whitney seem to take on the message from the Bob Dylan that they cover tonight: “Throw my troubles out the door / I don’t need them anymore / 'Cus tonight I’ll be staying here with you”.

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