White Lies | 09.30.09

live_white-lies_sm.gifThroughout their set I continued to be impressed by the percussion.







with Kings of Leon
Scottrade Center, St. Louis

live_white-lies.gifIt would be a stretch to say I’d seen White Lies before. What I’d done was hear them from the back of Stubb’s outdoor amphitheater in Austin. It was during SXSW, and we were there to "see" PJ Harvey. White Lies played in support of Razorlight (who were awful, by the way), who played in support of PJ (who, herself, played in support of Third Eye Blind. Can you even fathom how wrong that is?). Regardless, what I heard I liked.

So when the band’s publicist called asking if I’d like to check them out, I said sure. I’d just had a show cancel at my job and found myself with a free night—how fortuitous! I grabbed a friend and we headed downtown.

What we found were crazy lines to get in. The venue had maybe two of ten turnstiles open (???), which meant we waited, and moved slowly, and waited to get in. Of course, White Lies were on promptly at 8, causing me a little bit of stress. I can proudly say, though, that although we weren’t quite in our seats yet, we were in the venue when the band took the stage. We slipped into our seats before the first song was over and enjoyed the show.

We noticed a couple things up front: One, the house was maybe one-sixth full…a shame, given the talent of the opening act. The other, though, was criminal: Kings of Leon had relegated White Lies to a small patch of stage in front of their sprawled, black-draped equipment. The band played beneath drab white lights…perhaps their own idea, as they were all clad in black, save for the drummer who sported a white shirt with his black jeans.

As the second song kicked in, so did the drums—steady, pounding, encompassing. I had to keep checking; yep, there was just one drummer up there. Throughout their set I continued to be impressed by the percussion. It was the third song, "To Lose My Life," where White Lies began to excel. Atop the killer drumbeats were some backing vocals, which really fleshed out the song. Finally, the band made an attempt at talking, merely introducing themselves, though the cavernous atmosphere made applause sound weak and, frankly, a bit sad.

Vocalist Harry McVeigh doubled as the guitarist; his focus, however, was on delivering ruby-throated lines; the axe seemed secondary, often bested by the keyboards—and those skins, of course. It wasn’t until the second-to-last song, "Unfinished Business," that the tempo seemed to rise. The song picked up, reaching a full gallop, further impressing. Set finisher "Death" was upbeat, too, an great way to end a solid (if underappreciated) set. Such lines as "I live on the right side but sleep on the left/ that’s why everything’s gotta be life or death" gave the crowd an inside peek into this rising British band.

The band’s debut album To Lose My Life features lush strings, beautiful and inviting; still, with the amazing drums tonight, I hardly missed them. I look forward to a headlining set from these guys; hopefully it won’t be too long a wait. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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