White Lies Brood at Webster Hall, Crowd Sighs

Nell Alk

Haunting West London-based pop rock outfit White Lies brought brooding and darkness to Webster Hall Friday night. Fans couldn’t have been more upbeat about it.

The band entered shortly after 9 p.m. and exited no later than 10:30 -- enough time to deliver a tight, 12-song set. Dressed head-to-toe in black and backlit by soft white light, the quartet (they’re usually a trio, but live gigs include keyboardist Tommy Bowen) opened with the percussion-and keys-heavy “Farewell to the Fairground.” Donning black Nikes emblazoned with gold swooshes, lead singer Harry McVeigh strummed feverishly on a mirrored, absolutely badass Fender Stratocaster. They followed with the ethereal “Taxidermy,” a brand new number off their forthcoming record.

Standout songs from the evening included “Nothing to Give” and “Price of Love.” The former began dramatically, the stage cast in pitch black, bassist Charles Cave exiting the stage entirely, reentering when it was time to bring it home.

Last time these lads performed in our neck of the woods was in March, at Bowery Ballroom—whose sound is considerably better than Webster Hall’s. Indeed McVeigh’s voice wavered occasionally, but White Lies’ production is so minimalist (no colored lighting or other ornamental elements), and their narrative lyrics are so rich and deep, that the set was successful. Their encore consisted of a single song, “Death,” which, despite the downtrodden title, left us pleased as punch. McVeigh wasted no time talking--save for “you’re very kind, thank you”-- content to put on a solid rock concert sans banter.

Photos by Pearse Daly.

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