Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Whitest Boy Alive @ KOKO, London

21 May 2008

>For a band who released their first and only album two years ago, you wonder at first why it is The Whitest Boy Alive have KOKO filled to the rafters. Pink balloons are being bounced or rubbed against punters scalps. The Shins Wincing The Night Away is frothing out warmly over the PA. People are crawling over each other to get a view which points anywhere vaguely towards the front.

This mini tour is a rare visit to the UK after Dreams eventually drifted over to these shores last winter. One of 2007’s late gems, few have had the opportunity to experience it live at a time when Erlend Øye is due to return to the studio shortly to complete the new Kings of Convenience album.

In reality then, tonight is something of a send off for the WBA. It certainly feels that way in terms of atmosphere. Far removed from the lo-fi splendour of Dreams, you are immersed in the kind of ad lib jazz-funk and dub jams more commonly associated with a Rapture or !!! show.

That desire is also plainly written over Erlend Øye’s wry smile. He looks a little surprised at the turnout too. But he wants to party. Bespectacled as ever, hop-scotching about in his cream yellow skinnys, swinging his invisible lassoe or plunging into an amusing bout of onstage aerobics.

Golden Cage bounces in the humid air quite happily early on, whilst the likes of 24K and a rousing rendition of Robin S’ 90s club anthem Show Me Love instilled a club vibe.

The more stripped Inflation and Done With You strung up a KOKO-sized hammock which gently swung all concerned. Fireworks and an encore of Burning only amplified this euphoria.

By this point, anything would go, and support band Rubies’ frontwoman Simone Rubi took the lead for an unashamed take on Bill Withers’ Lovely Day.

It almost threatened to turn into karaoke, especially after Øye swagged the mic, but it was their party after all.

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More on The Whitest Boy Alive
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The Whitest Boy Alive @ KOKO, London
The Whitest Boy Alive – Dreams