White Lies: Manchester Academy

Well I would be lying if I said that the last stop of ‘White Lies’ tour at Manchester Academy last-night was far from enjoyable.  However, would that be a fair comment considering I haven’t really paid much attention to their latest album ‘Ritual’.
My lack of attention towards the second album left me feeling a little lost whilst Harry McVeigh was belting the tunes out one after another, but the mixture of both albums seemed well ordered and for every song that I wasn’t so sure about, was made up for with another more familiar track.

The night kicked off with ‘A Place To Hide’ then tuning down to the ‘Holy Ghost’.  The second song of the evening stirred something in the crowd and started a spontaneous surge to the front of the stage, allowing the customary crowd surfing to begin.

I thought the night really kicked off with ‘EST’ followed by ‘Peace and Quiet’ and then ‘Streetlights’, tracks that many may consider to be the more popular by the group. Adding ‘Farewell to the Fairground’ to this mix allowed the familiarity to continue and allow the atmosphere to be electrified.

For some reason I didn’t get the feeling McVeigh enjoyed standing back and listening to the crowds singing his lyrics. Very few words were spoken to riel up the crowd, creating an obvious tension between the band and the crowd.  Maybe such words weren’t needed but a small acknowledgement and a brief “Hello Manchester” to the crowd may have changed my mind.
The lighting and staging was as professional as other gigs I’ve seen, the strobe horizontal lighting and the decent imaging really completed and filled the stage.  It was almost as good as Interpol and Killer Sets.

They finished their set with ‘Death’ and at that moment it really did seem like the things had finished far too soon. The usual crowd jeering brought them back to the stage, they powered out with ‘Unfinished Business’, ‘Power and Glory’, then to top it off, with my favourite ‘Bigger than Us’.

My initial thoughts of ‘White Lies’ is that the subject matter of their songs often covers dark and ominous themes such as suicide, self-harm, hospitals and funerals. However, the music does have its moments notably the crystalline keyboards on the chorus of “Fifty on Our Foreheads” which was sadly not played!  I hope its not just me when I say that some of their songs do seem to be a tad tedious in parts however occasionally, the momentum does switch and you are faced with an unforgettable chorus line.  That no-one seems to forget.

Summer after next, they’ll be festival headliners. Love them or hate them, they are going all the way.   I just wonder where.

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