Melbourne's baby-faced Lawrence Greenwood, aka Whitley, has taken the music world by storm and showed no signs of slowing at Brisbane’s Laneway Festival.
Charismatic and also self-deprecatingly funny, Whitley endeared himself to the crowd - engaging them not only inbetween sets but with his music, which was atmospheric and all at once intimate.
Opening with “Killer” from his latest album, Go Forth, Find Mammoth, the crowd came alive, swaying in time to the beat.
During his runaway hit “Head First Down” the crowd sang along and the rain began to fall, the humidity rose in the air and dripping wet bodies bumped into each other.
At one point, someone from the crowd called out for Greenwood to take off his shirt.
“Take my shirt off? No, I wear shirts because I’ve got back fat,” Greenwood quipped back.
“But at least I’m not as fat as Alex Lloyd.”
The crowd laughed and so Greenwood kept it going, his dark locks hanging languorously across his sweat-dampened forehead and looking so much like a much cuter version of John 'Cougar' Mellencamp it was mildly disconcerting.
"I'm annoying, but not as annoying as Ben Lee," he said, much to the delight of the crowd.
"I’m a dickhead but not as big a dickhead as … well, you tell me, you in the bang-cock T-shirt," Greenwood waited, listening for an answer.
"I’m not as big a dickhead as myself? OK?"
How charming to come across a musician so down to earth and not afraid to take the piss out of himself even if he is singing "serious" music.
He even made reference to the fact that his audience was missing out on Kid Sam, playing on another stage. He encouraged everyone to check them out next time they were in town because they were "great".
"Feel free to filter off now," he laughed.
Whitley’s band left the stage at one point during which he did a solo acoustic version of "I Remember", which was probably the only downtime he had on stage.
Utterly charming, it will be exciting to see what other things this extremely talented and grounded musician will bring in the future.
Words: Charley Traynor
Pic: Jordana Borensztajn