Toronto – It’s been a few years since I last saw White Lies take the stage and since then they have released a new album (Ritual) and garnered enough fan interest to sell out the Mod Club on a frosty Saturday night. Their mission for the night was to erase the memory of their sub par show at Lee’s Palace a few years ago, where Harry McVeigh’s flu ridden voice forbade him from hitting those crucial high notes needed for some of the more dramatic parts of their songs, and as we all are aware of, White Lies discography solely consists of dramatic songs so in turn, most people left that show disappointed.
I’ll be happy to report that this time around, there was no such sickness to prevent Mr. McVeigh from hitting those notes, which resulted in anthems such as Death and Unfinished Business sounding as glorious as they should, resulting in sold out crowd clapping and pumping their fists. The downside was that aside from those two singles and perhaps a track or two from their new album – Bigger Then Us/The Power & The Glory, there weren’t really enough highs in the concert to keep the crowd going. I don’t know if the band takes itself too seriously or they have decided that stationary and mechanical was the stage persona they want to go for, but the group did not make for a very engaging live act. The lack of show on stage combined with the unbalanced nature of their songs led to a quite uneven show were there was seemingly far too much time between highs. I guess it doesn’t help that their new album Ritual sounds a lot like their first album, To Lose My Life, but only not as good. Maybe I haven’t had proper time to absorb all it’s subtleties and nuances, but to me there wasn’t track on there that immediate jumped out at you as being godblindingly awesome like Death and Unfinished Business. I guess the jury is still out on them, but if you like that post punk 80s Talking Head meets Interpol sound, then White Lies are still a pretty good bet.
Having said all that, Death and Unfinished Business are just amazing songs and probably worth the price of admission themselves. Hell even Mumford & Sons covered it.
White Lies – Death by marcuspessoa
Opening for White Lies was local act Dinosaur Bones who gave us a short sample of what their first ever album My Divider. They set started a lot earlier then expected (some would say 8:15) so I missed a few tunes when I arrived. What I heard was a band starting to find it’s way as an indie rock band whose tracks are atypically Canadian in that there are a lot of layers of guitars, bass, keyboard and other noise to deal with, and somehow it just comes together right when you think it was heading for chaos. While I’m not sure if they have the career redefining single in the bag (maybe it was one of the earlier songs), what is certain is that they have definitely put on a good stage game. Impeccably dressed and giving off a loose and fun vibe, I expect the band to continue to build upon earlier successes and when that hit inevitably comes, they’ll definitely be ready for it.