White Lies have plans to conquer America and are off to a perfect start after putting on an absolutely inspired performance at First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. It’s easy to assume that you won’t be able to see this band in venues this small after their current NME tour. With a chart-topping debut album in the UK and incredible buzz in the states, White Lies will soon enough be playing arenas to masses of fans who are drawn to their brand of New Wave pop. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t instantly one of my favorite shows of the year. In light of our recent dismal economic times, White Lies play dark and gloomy songs that give you something to hold onto.
The energy and emotion of lead singer Harry McVeigh was as engaging as I’ve seen in recent memory. Right when you think he’s about to lose it in some of the more dreary lyrics (the songs aren’t exactly upbeat, see “Death,” “To Lose My Life,” and “Nothing to Give”), McVeigh is able to get it together again. He announced to the crowd of 500 that his voice was not so good this night, but any detriment to his vocals went unnoticed. Several in the crowd shouted “Harry!” in between songs to express their satisfaction with his inspired performance.
The tech crew took a painfully long time to set up for a band who wasn’t even the headliner on this particular night. We were glad they did, as the sound and mix were absolutely perfect. First Unitarian, especially the basement, has not been known for good sound. Kudos to the sound engineer for not drowning out Harry’s vocals like so many other venues tend to do. McVeigh needs to be front and center to fully appreciate one of the biggest buzz bands around, and that’s exactly what we got. I gave White Lies debut album a satisfactory review, which I’m sticking to. However, I would urge all to catch them while tickets are still cheap and easy to come by. Before you blink White Lies will be playing the Wachovia Center for $60 a pop. This is a band you should not miss live.
Here is the video for their current single, “Farewell to the Fairground”: