White Lies, The Forum, London
Monday 24 January 2011
Ealing three-piece White Lies were top of the bill for this Radio One In New Music We Trust gig, but they aren't exactly "new".
In 2009, the indie synthers shot to fame with their debut album, To Lose My Life, drew comparisons to Joy Division and Interpol, and became stars of the recent Eighties revival.
The BBC can be forgiven though. After all, it claims credit for being one of the band's first backers and White Lies do have shiny new sophomore album Ritual to preview before next month's UK tour.
To fulfil their promise of a "bigger and more powerful" show for the Ritual tour, the lads have drafted an extra keyboardist and turntablist. However, it's not until the third number, radio favourite "To Lose My Life", that the crowd gets excited.
The cold, dark and powerful crescendos that showcase Harry McVeigh's Julian Cope-esque vocals are a treat to listen to, but not to watch. Throughout the set, clean drums, detailed bass and retro keys build on a backbone of sinister subject matter ("Death" and "Unfinished Business" are particularly morbid) to prove that White Lies are masters of the indie dance floor-filler formula.
But the band is constantly stoney-faced, they barely move, there's no chat, and most of all – there is no emotion. In terms of showmanship, they are overshadowed by their warm-up group, the American noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells. Innovative song-writing from Derek E Miller melds clashing guitar riffs with Alexis Krauss's seductive riot girl vocals, all topped with a ballsy performance shows that they won't be filling support slots much longer.
That said, White Lies earn their redemption with the ender, new single "Bigger Than Us". It's pure, intense stadium-worthy rock and crucially, they move! They're passionate! And they even smile! White Lies recently declared aspirations to be the next Kings of Leon. If they only played like that all the time, their dream might just become reality.
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