Live Review: White Lies – Liverpool

White Lies

Liverpool O2 Academy, 26th November 2016

Words: Gary Lambert

Photos: Gaz Jones

gaz_1714For all that is said about Liverpool being a tough town to sell gig tickets in, they really needed to explain that to Saturday 26th November 2016.  Just off the top of my head there was Bill Ryder-Jones playing at New Brighton Pavilion (admittedly not in Liverpool – but still part of Liverpool musically), Soul II Soul playing the former Mountford Hall, Deacon Blue playing at Liverpool Echo Arena taking up any casual music fans, Pete Wylie playing Academy 2, Trevor Nelson at Arts Club, and Cream’s Steelyard promising a night of a lifetime with Axwell and Ingrosso. On top of all of that, White Lies were playing the big room in O2 Academy Liverpool, and for me and the rest of the sell out crowd, it was the best gig of the lot.

I’m not belittling any of the other acts playing. Far from it. They are all fantastic in their particular fields. Instead I am going at it from a basis of statistics. This gig was a night that burnt to my soul the power of White Lies, a gig that combined songcraft, showmanship, a pulsating energy, and a constant reminder that mass singalongs at gigs are not the exclusive property of the Banter Set with their pyrotechnics, lashed pints of lager and the type of behaviour that has caused T in The Park to announce a year off. In years gone by, this night would have been the one that makes people go “these will be headlining Glastonbury surely” and you would know that a deserving band would have a shot at fame.  Unfortunately it is now impossible to headline any major festival these days without the fame already in place because too many consumers expect one of the same circle of drudgery to be in the big letters on the poster.

gaz_1689Opening up for White Lies on this tour has been The Ramona Flowers. As a partnership on the same tour, it did not quite grab me. While musically there are similarities with White Lies, I find that The Ramona Flowers were more alike Brandon Flowers. The heavy pop vibe was summed up whilst talking to a friend during the interval. I’m going to steal this quote from him “they’re not my cup of tea, but if I had a little sister into good music she would love them and I would be quite happy with her choice and take her to her first gig to see them”. They are better than a guilty pleasure and with the right song becoming a hit could be massive.

White Lies sounded massive, like all of a sudden they had hit a musical version of an Instagram filter that was called “Arena”. From the opening bars of Take It Out On Me it was obvious that we were on for a special night. Fittingly track one on their most recent album, Friends, the live version sounded inflated, expanded, matured as though the October release was the birth of the song and it has now become a young man of a tune. This one song set the tone for the whole night.

gaz_1554From start to finish it was a raucous, controlled party atmosphere with a complete celebration of the music of White Lies. Every word of every song was roared back at the band. The stage lights and production made an academy tour night feel as like a one-off special event that could have been put on the Empire theatre around the corner rather than the street behind it.

White Lies, do do it.

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