w/ Dan Owen
September 7, 2019 at Brighton Music Hall
Blanco White, along with Dan Owen, brought a rare level of intimacy to Brighton Music Hall on September 7. Singer-songwriter Owen opened the show, immediately demonstrating a command of the audience that is so rare for anyone but the headliner. He began his set with light, melodic strumming on his guitar, letting his low and slightly raspy voice take the spotlight. Soon, he introduced a step drum, which the crowd immediately went crazy for. His music picked up its pace, and along with the addition of a harmonica, he stole the audience’s collective heart. Owen, as a one-man show, is sure to see success if he continues at the rate he’s going now.
Blanco White began as the solo project of Josh Edwards. However with the addition of five members, it seems to have grown into something bigger and readier to take on the intricate and ambient melodies Edwards so deftly creates.
Kicking off an amazing set, Blanco White began with “Nocturne,” the namesake of its 2018 EP. As the song progressed through a lengthy intro, the humming and light guitar were marred slightly by a recurring skip in the venue’s speakers. Even though the skill and expertise of the band would in normal circumstances excuse any pretension on its behalf, Edwards was incredibly humble and genuine. The spotlight did not touch his face until the end of the show, leaving the band mostly obscured and backlit with ambient lighting. He also made sure to thank the audience as soon as each song ended. Expressing his gratitude to be back in the United States, Edwards shared that he was most excited about the breakfast food we have to offer.
A common element among the songs Blanco White played was flamenco inspired guitar-playing. Edwards studied the instrument in Andalusia, Spain, and is heavily influenced by the region’s music style. Carrying with this theme, many of the songs had a similar story-telling quality to flamenco music, dwelling on concepts such as solitude, love and dying.
As one would expect, these songs quickly delved into sensitive territory, and the intimate setting of the show proved the ideal way to fully appreciate the music. As the show drew to a close, and the band played “Colder Heavens,” the lyric “sometimes I get the feeling I’m lost” stood out to me. The crowd was enraptured; everybody there loved his music, and most likely had felt the same way at some point. The comfortably full venue allowed the profoundness of Blanco White’s music to be completely welcomed by all.