Let’s Go Home Together, and Die at the Same Time
The Soft Pack
Paradise Rock Club, Boston
March 28th, 2009
In the UK, White Lies have already seen their debut record reach #1 on the charts, been compared to legendary acts such as Joy Division, and played numerous sold-out headlining shows. In the US, however, the band is relatively unknown, aside from a Letterman appearance and a few mixed reviews from the music press. While it is difficult to say if the band will ever catch on in the states like they have across the pond, it is safe to say it won’t be their live performance that holds them back. The band took the stage at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on March 29th, opening for fellow UK buzz band Friendly Fires and performed a short yet satisfying set that offered a glimpse their enormous potential.
The show opened with a 30 minute set from San Diego’s The Soft Pack, who performed in front of the sparse crowd that had made its way into the club at this point. The intimate venue began to fill up after the band’s solid, yet unmemorable set. White Lies, who are lead singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh, bassist Charles Cave, and drummer/keyboardist Jack Lawrence Brown took the stage dressed (appropriately) in black and began thier set with “Farewell to the Fairgrounds,” a solid if not spectacular track from their dark, post-punk tinged debut release “How To Lose My Life.” The band would then transition into “To Lose My Life,” the single that has garnered a good deal of radio play in the UK and many a sarcastic comment from US critics for its overly-dramatic chorus in which McVeigh belts out “Lets go home together, and die at the same time.” At this point, the small but enthusiastic section of the crowd familiar with the band made their presence known
– singing along and generally having a great time.
What was surprising about the performance was just how good the band sounded in a live setting. There were two reasons why this was so unexpected, the most important being the vocal health of McVeigh. The band had been forced to shorten it’s set in New York only three days earlier due to the singer’s sore throat, and he admitted to the crowd it was still bothering him on this night. Despite this, McVeigh sounded great throughout most of the performance, and he was aided by an excellent mixing job from the club’s sound technicians. Each instrument stood out and was clearly audible, which helped showcase the talents of the three musicians, most notably McVeigh, who in addition to covering the vocals, is also the band’s lone guitarist. The band would play “E.S.T., “From the Stars,” “Fifty on our Foreheads” and “The Price of Love” before thanking the crowd and performing one more song.
That song, of course, would be “Death,” which was originally featured on the Death EP that gave most fans their first taste of the band. The soaring, five minute epic was possibly better live than on cd, as the crowd at the front responded in way they hadn’t all night, singing along and pumping their fists. The band would leave the stage to a loud round of applause, obviously having won over a good percentage of those in attendance.
Next up would be the headliners Friendly Fires, who brought their schizophrenic blend of disco beats, rock guitars and pop hooks to the stage in front of what was now a sizable audience. While most in the crowd seemed to enjoy them, and some even danced along, I wasn’t familiar with their work, and I felt it all started to blur together after only a few songs. They do deserve credit for the energy they brought to the stage however, especially front man Ed Macfarlane, who pogoed around as if hooked to an AMP energy drink IV. Overall, the night (for me at least) belonged to White Lies, who, by this time next year could either be “the next big thing” or another group of dour Brits who were never able to transfer their success across the Atlantic. Either way, they’ve released a great debut album and certainly have the live chops to back it up.