As year's go, Matthew E White's 2013 has already been pretty special. After all, debut album, 'Big Inner', received a near-unanimous tip of the hat upon worldwide-release in January and now his European Tour is capped with this, his biggest headline show to date.
With that in mind, you'd expect the whirlwind of emphatic reviews and globe-trotting to leave him visibly stoked and such glee is predictably wiped across his bearded face during opener 'Will You Love Me'; a hairy perma-grin and poked tongue greeting its brassy, feel good refrain. Sadly, his hoarse whisper throughout the leisurely, Randy Newman-ish verses doesn't entirely fill the big room, but the musicianship is so slickly gripping it more than makes up for it – him and his band displaying the sort of virtuosity that you'd imagine plays on loop during Jools Holland's dribbliest slumbers.
If it wasn't sonically obvious from the off though, the sound in the Queen Elizabeth Hall is suitably excellent from then on and his self-proclaimed "mover and shaker", 'Big Love', even pulls a fair majority of seated-onlookers to their feet - such is its praise-worthy, gospel-tinged groove and impeccable, record-quality execution. The honky tonk licks and rumbling conga that hurtle towards its climax even provoke an overzealous cluster to run to the front flailing their arms, as if the host is orchestrating one of those barmy, Pentecostal spasm sessions. "I am a hurricane,” he then repeats, as the visceral, improv jam reaches fever pitch, with a face-distorting gust of trumpet and caterwauling slide guitar.
After a heart (and throat) warming ‘Hot Toddies’, they conclude with the percussive and epic album finale 'Brazos', which is as face-achingly triumphant a curtain call as could be hoped for, playing out like a fantasy hook-up between Jimmy Cliff and ‘Screamadelica’-era Primal Scream. With one final flourish, a standing ovation and a bow, the vastly talented Virginian vacates - a superb year and suitably superb show to boot.