For an artist whose work is synonymous with the salvation, redemption and evils of religion it seems fitting that Jim White is bringing his dark gospel odes to the Union Chapel tonight. The stained glass windows, pews and large, imposing pulpit giving the visual effect of a sermon taking place in the beautiful north London church/venue. Jim white’s eager devoted fanbase start filling these pews ready to hear the Floridian Alt-country veteran play the jet black , twisted country sonnets that make Whites newest album ‘Where it Hits you’ as vital as any of his earlier, more defining records.
Backed by two members of Belgian alt country band Stanton (whose debut album White produced and also played percussion during their support slot tonight) Jim White ambles onstage clad in a trucker’s cap and oversized white shirt (both of which he will auction off at the end of tonight) and starts tonight with a story. In fact Jim White tells a lot of stories tonight, punctuating the setlist with tales of Religion, friendships, relationships and mistakes, captivating his audience with every word as well as every chord played and lyric crooned. The crowd gets a tribute to Ex- Moldy PeachKimya Dawson in the form of ‘Keep It Meaningful You All’ ( geddit?), a lament to a departed childhood friend (‘My Brother’s Keeper’) and stark musings on love and religion that are all wrapped up in the engrossing storytelling and humour that makes the Union Chapel feel smaller in size and glow warm in its intimacy.
Crowd favourites like ‘If Jesus Drove a Motor home’ and set closer, the stunning ‘That girl from Brownsville, Texas’ elicit rapturous applause and reaffirms what makes Jim White such an enchanting musician, blessed with the ability to have an audience hanging on his every word, whether it be sung or spoken. Tonight’s show is a soul warming service that, in a perfect world, would be the musical alternative to church on Sunday.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.