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White Lies – Barrowlands, Glasgow

White LiesThe Great British public do not, in the main, like being told which bands they are going to get behind. It’s why A&R isn’t an exact science. It’s why bands with terrific marketing behind them, from Sigue Sigue Sputnik to The Bravery, died on their collective arses pretty quickly. If there isn’t really anything going on behind the haircuts and the hype, people tend not to be too bothered by it. You have to have something there.

White Lies ascent from potentials to a number one album and a sell-out tour has been been quicker than an MP getting in an expense claim, but thankfully a lot more honest. While it’s true that the NME has put some weight behind them, they really only properly did so after the band started to pick up attention from the public at large. Their debut album isn’t bad – they’ve been called goth revivalists and, hand on heart, you’d be lying if you claimed you couldn’t hear why in places – but it suffered from a stultifying sheen of over-production which lent the album even more of an 80’s feel. It’s been a stick for their critics, no doubt.

Live, that goes out the window. The songs are unleashed like absolute beasts, great driving rock songs that recall The Mary Chain or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at their most raw. ‘EST’ and ‘Farewell to the Fairgound’ are properly anthemic, not in that mousey Killers-like ‘please everyone like this, please’ that should basically come with a begging letter for some money and approval, but genuine, arms in the air and belt this out at the top of your voice anthems.

For a cynical old chap who arrived at the show having filed them under ‘not bad’, it’s a wonder to behold. Singer Harry McVeigh has one of those voices that sound like they’ve gone through a magic mixing desk and you only really appreciate when you witness it live that that is actually how he sounds. He leads the band from the front, frantically slashing and spitting out guitar lines whilst the rest of the band create a cauldron of intense, noirish sound behind him. It’s impressive.

They end up with ‘Death’ (don’t we all) which could well be one this years big, if unlikely, festival rabble rousers. In a set an hour long which feels like it has lasted half of that, they’ve demonstrtaed the proper power of the live arena and also made me almost want to beg them to get Steve Albini to record their next record and ignore all the studio frippery. A fine rock band with ambition and heart.


4 Responses

  1. I should also point out, for those interested in such things, that the gig was chock full of attractive totty of both sexes. Myself and Positive Firehorse (who is a lady) were most impressed.

  2. A very fair review – I have liked White Lies from the start and agree they are better live than they are recorded! The singer has the most amazing voice….from his diminuitive frame you are left wondering where that HUGE voice came from!! Even if you don’t much like 80s goth you would appreciate his immense vocal talents!

  3. I thought they’d be good, but was surprised by how good they were.

    They have a huge future.

  4. Nice review agree they are fabby live..sorry I missed them this time ..mind u even if I hadn’t been elsewhere someone forgot to get me a ticket..yes you adrian !

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