White Lies return to Brixton Academy in a haze of nostalgia
White Lies are on a tour that celebrates ten years since their debut album, To Lose My Life… smashed into the charts at number one. They begin this epic set by performing the album in full. The post-punk three-piece, originally hailing from Ealing and having played together since school, return to Brixton Academy in a haze of nostalgia.
Lead singer Harry McVeigh introduces their first-ever single, Unfinished Business, which is a highlight with its raw lyrics – as is the glam stomp of EST which follows, during which drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown comes into his own. Farewell to the Fairground is a clear crowd favourite.
After playing the first album in its entirety, the band then mix it up with newer material such as Tokyo from fifth album Five, and an encore including popular tracks Taxidermy and Bigger Than Us. It’s a sold-out show, hyped to the rafters, and the image of thousands of fists punching through the mist and the sound of thousands of voices singing as one is quite a spectacle.
McVeigh’s voice is reminiscent of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis: a powerful and affecting baritone. It needs a big sound around it, which his bandmates achieve. However, it borders on overwhelming – the backing is over-amplified and slightly too punchy.
The stage set is classy; white strip lights and a fluorescent pedestal for the drummer are effective and stylish. The monochrome palette suits their aesthetic: nostalgia is not necessarily known for nuance and theirs is a broad, brush-stroke sound. While there’s a lot to be said for looking back, it’s the bands that constantly look forward and innovate that create the most interesting shows.
Photos: Miguel de Melo
For further information and future events visit White Lies’s website here.
Watch the video for Farewell to the Fairground here: