Jim White - St Pancras Old Church, 9th September 2013 3
St Pancras Old Church 10th September 2013

Jim White – St Pancras Old Church, 9th September 2013

Jim White is playing the second of his two sold out London dates and it’s rather fitting that it’s in a church. It’s not that he’s a religious man in the traditional sense, although he once was, it’s more that for a man who spends almost as much time speaking as he does singing, the soft acoustics and hushed assembly are the perfect place for him to tell his tales. Wearing a shirt emblazoned with prints of a beatific looking Christ which perfectly reflect the painted panel behind him, he takes us on a journey through his world. “I’ve always tried to make my life interesting” he admits between songs. No kidding. His cinematic songs are populated with characters so strange you’d swear they’re fictional. Crazy preachers (“he preaches here in a church in East London, if you see him don’t tell him I said hi“) Pensacola beach bum surfers on LSD, prostitutes having a crisis of faith, a 300 pound man who died of a broken heart, a thalidomide victim with no hands who played “the best slide guitar I’ve ever heard” and motel residents even Norman Bates would turn away all feature in Whites songs and terrifyingly, they’re all real. “Have you all heard the tornado story?” he asks before regaling the audience with a lengthy tale about himself and a friend on LSD, culminating with his friend running into a freshly landed tornado. He explains that this episode became a life philosophy of sorts and I guess you don’t get stories like Jim’s by running away from hairy situations.

The biggest character though is Jim himself, poverty, near death experiences, injury, the untimely loss of friends and an escape from the church have all shaped this quietly spoken man and informed his songwriting. Twice during tonight’s show, the bells chime as he speaks, ominously one of those times is during a segment about his life as a Christian, he rolls his eyes heavenwards with a wry smile. He’s searingly honest and on several occasions has the audience in fits of laughter, the only other sounds being the annoying crack of beer cans which have replaced the usual London gig chatter that seems so prevalent these days. Even that though, can’t detract from a perfectly delivered, intimate show. Last time he was in London he played the grander, more spacious Union Chapel, but tonight, lit by a couple of small lamps and a lot of flickering candles, the venue seems far more appropriate.

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.