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Blanco White: A flavour of Spain in Brisbane

Blanco White in Brisbane by Tara Dickinson

 Blanco White

The Zoo, Brisbane

Thursday, 22 Feb 2024


You may not immediately recognise him, but London folk singer and songwriter Josh Edwards has been infiltrating Spotify playlists for over eight years, growing a devoted following. There’s something strangely nostalgic and yet timeless about Blanco White songs. The lyrics yearn for an imagined past, while living in the imperfect present. As if writing love letters on postcards from places he wishes he had been earlier.


On his first Brisbane visit, the Zoo’s chandeliers reflect the warm red and yellow stage lights conjuring Spain, a country that has coloured his two albums and four EPs.


Supporting duo, Brook St, earnestly folks their way through their heartfelt set, the audience dutifully charmed. But the biggest cheers are saved for the unassuming Josh and his two musicians.


Bursting into a blistering set is not at all what they are about. 


Unhurried care is taken to craft the environment around the songs, demonstrated by each swapping and fine tuning of their diverse instruments.


‘Colder Heavens’ opens, a lamentation to lost love. Lottie Gabriel’s haunting violin echoes, as Josh promises the night would be a mix of old and new.


‘Nocturne’ played live is transformed into an hypnotic chant, layered with exquisite vocals. A half-remembered dream of a song lodged in the subconscious, it allows you to emerge from its depths, only to entice you under again. Gentle interludes ease the transitions from rich sandy soundscapes of the current album, to intense flamenco guitar.


Josh makes the stage his own for ‘Sol’, a lullaby of solitude, the narrative woven by his words and guitar-picking holding the audience in hushed silence.


It takes some cojones to cover Nick Cave in Australia. ‘We No Who U R’ becomes less sinister, an airy sense of nature and northern softness soothing Cave’s menace.


Ethereal ‘We Had a Place In That Garden’ has much in common with Augie March’s ‘There Is No Such Place’ - again, each artist from opposing hemispheres, but here, kindred, parallel songs transcending time and physicality. 


After a teasingly meandering guitar solo from Superego, ‘Ollala’ elates the crowd, phones held aloft. 


Rhythmic ‘The Lily’ closes, the violin this time signalling the end.


This well curated taster set is like tapas: a thoughtful selection of flavours that are enjoyable, but not substantial enough to satisfy - this time. No doubt when Josh next plays our shores, it will be on a larger scale. I can’t wait. 

By Tara Dickinson - @tara_fineart

Blanco White at The Zoo in Brisbane by Tara Dickinson


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