A full eleven-piece band join Whitney for a true Cuffing Season event
Phoebe Scott
16:55 2nd December 2019

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On Friday (29 November), there felt no better way to round off autumn than to spend a wholesome evening in the warm with Whitney.

Waiting outside the Roundhouse, there seemed to be an abundance of love – parents with their kids, groups of girl friends and tonnes of loved up couples. Cuffing season is very clearly in full swing; hand-holding and stand-up spooning defines the night.

At around 9:20 pm, the Chicago two-piece Max and Julien were accompanied to the stage by some extra members. Drums, piano, trumpet, guitars and even a string section made up a full eleven-piece band, all wearing formal black-tie attire. A true fancy affair.

The band opened with the recognisable fan favourite ‘Polly’, the lead single from their debut album and one that would showcase the level of tingling glory we could expect moving forward. Hearing the band execute these multi-layered tracks almost true to the recordings was incredible, but they were made even better by being peppered with slick improvisation: trumpet, piano and guitar solos over well-known bangers presented the audience with an unheard listening experience and a real treat for their core fans. A quality found throughout their setlist which featured a healthy blend of songs from both albums including 'No Woman, 'Follow', 'Used To Be Lonely' and 'Forever Turned Around'.

They effortlessly created an atmosphere which settled the crowd into a sway - far from the usual sweating and pushing gig etiquette - helped visually by a candy-esque colour combination of lights filtering across the room.

Julien let the crowd know early on his voice had unfortunately been suffering and he would be “eating honey in between songs”...if it wasn't difficult enough to play the drums and simultaneously sing unimaginably high notes, how about throw in a cold? Honestly, his vocals only slipped ever so slightly, you wouldn’t have noticed much at all. He was still hitting falsetto notes you and I could only dream of, and it was nice to find a drummer front-middle of the stage too.

While taking a minute to sip on what can only be assumed as lemon and honey tea, Julien told the crowd the band had “been looking forward to this show for a minute” and thanked the crowd for selling out the largest headline show they had ever played.

If you missed this one, don't worry: they'll be back in London for All Points East in 2020.

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Photo: James Polley