Blanco White – Tuning Fork: February 16, 2024 (Concert Review)

Blanco White is a band and  it is also the alter ego of Josh Edwards, a London-born artist whose musical journey has taken him to Spain, to Bolivia and finally, to New Zealand.

BEXYThere is soul music and there is music for the soul. Blanco White fits firmly into the latter category. The trio (Josh Edwards: vocals, guitar, Charlotte Shnurr: violin, vocals, keys and Cameron Potts: guitar, bass, mandolin) has released its latest album, Taifa, this past September and they are keen to make their New Zealand debut a night to remember.

So are their fans…it’s a good, solid crowd at The Tuning Fork, not full, but comfortably crowded. Sadly, your reviewer has missed opening act, BEXY, from Christchurch, but the 13th Floor photographer Chris Zwaagdyk didn’t and his photos can be found in the gallery below.

Blanco White took the stage just after 9pm, although the dim lighting made it difficult to make out the three shadowy figures. But Charlotte Shnurr’s violin playing reached out like a beacon as they began the set with Colder Heavens, an upbeat number from their 2017 E.P. of the same name. The crowd responds enthusiastically, clearly BEXY has warmed them up sufficiently.

Blanco WhiteThen the mood changes with the hymn-like Una Noche Más, from Tarifa and the focus is on Josh’s voice, reminding me of Jose Gonzalez mixed with some David Gray. Then an angelic soprano is heard…turns out Charlotte can sing just as beautifully as she plays that violin.

El Búho is another vocal showcase while Nocturne takes us on a darker path.

Josh informs us that he will sing the next song in Spanish and he does. Mano a Mano throws off a bit of an El Condor Pasa vibe and has me thinking of Calexico and how a double bill and maybe a jam session with the Arizona Latin-rockers would make for a most enjoyable evening.

The mind wanders during the seven minute-plus performance and at the end of it the room is silent as it seems the entire audience is caught up in their own thoughts.

“I’ll try one on my own now”, announces Josh as his two band members disappear further into the shadows.

Blanco WhiteSol, from the 2018 Nocturne E.P. is a beauty…more a meditation than a song, Josh’s guitar playing finds me thinking back to Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen and his own Embryonic Journey.

The band returns and the night’s journey continues with a cover of Nick Cave’s We No Who U R from Push The Sky Away.

A highlight for sure, you can’t go wrong with a good Nick Cave cover, but the following tune, the spellbinding We Had A Place In The Garden, is equally riveting, leaving the audience in a collective trance.

Green Eyes features more angelic vocals from Charlotte, who, it seems, is the secret sauce in Blanco White.

But really, this is not a band that shows off their technical abilities, but one that proves that underplaying and leaving space can be as effective, maybe more so, than showing off how many notes you can squeeze into a bar.

This bar is transfixed, which explains why maybe the audience seems on the quiet side as the 75 minute set comes to a close with Olalla and Lily.

Josh tells us it has been his dream to be playing in New Zealand”. Let’s hope this dream is a recurring one.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

Blanco White:



Blanco White Setlist:

  1. Colder Heavens
  2. Una Noche Más
  3. El Búho
  4. Nocturne
  5. Mano a Mano
  6. Sol
  7. We No Who U R
  8. We Had A Place In That Garden
  9. Green Eyes
  10. All That Matters
  11. Olalla
  12. Lily