Thursday, 2 May 2013

Matthew E. White @ The Arches, 24th April

For whatever reason, it seems to take Matthew E White a couple of songs to find his feet tonight. Opener Will You Love Me waltzes past with negligible impact, while a close-following One of These Days is similarly diaphanous, threatening to render White’s Scottish debut an anti-climax. But the nondescript start proves a mere blip; a low-key precursor to a stirring set of gospel-country, shot through with soul and dusted in psychedelic jams.

Steady Pace initiates the upswing, with a funkier feel than on record and a spot of choreography from a visibly loosening White. Where Big Inner featured, in the Virginian’s estimation, “thirty, forty” musicians, its live retelling comes courtesy of just five, but such is the virtuoso proficiency of White and his lesser-bearded band that the record’s layers are only rarely missed. With simpatico covers (Neil Young, Randy Newman) supplementing the Big Inner cuts, White’s substantial charm secures an uplifting victory.

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