White Lies - Union Transfer, Philadelphia - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

White Lies - Union Transfer, Philadelphia

by Brian Lange. Rating:10 Release Date:2012-07-08

This show is the quintessential example of why playing live is so important. I would hardly ever classify White Lies as one of my favourite bands, but this show ranks easily among the best shows I have ever been to. White Lies play tonight to an intimate, mostly 30-something crowd of about 150 people at Philadelphia’s well-known Union Transfer. The quality of the sound is amazing in this venue; arguably the best in the city. 

When the lights dim and the theme from the James Bond film Goldfinger chimes on, the crowd goes wild. White Lies are sending a message: “Yes America... we’re British. And here we are!”  Another thing rather unique about this intimate crowd is that every single person in the venue is here to see a band they know, love, and support, and is undoubtedly in hysterics after not having them play here for five years; some have never seen them perform. Harry McVeigh takes a poll mid-show, pleasantly surprised that a dozen or so people were actually at the show five years prior. 

The choice of wardrobe for this evening is (nearly) matching black t-shirts and trousers. This works thematically for the toned down show. Even the lights are arranged to be mostly white, rarely breaking into any other colour, and kept minimal. 

The small size of the venue, the engaged crowd, and the attention to substance over bling is what makes the show amazing. Needless to say, McVeigh is on point with his vocals all night. There’s nothing worse than realizing your favourite singer with that amazing voice cannot hold a note to save his life when performing live, but quite the opposite is true of White Lies. If anything, the live show outperforms the recorded version. Unfortunately, I am of the opinion that very few acts are able to achieve this, but White Lies has easily achieved the distinction of being one of the best acts I have ever seen perform live.

McVeigh is continually over the moon, full of smiles between each song and often in the middle of a lyric. He repeatedly exhibits his thanks to the fans across the pond, stating how grateful he is for the success of his band and surely not taking any second for granted. Before playing 'Unfinished Business', McVeigh spoke about how it was the first White Lies song, and the first song recorded, and how amazing it is to be playing it this evening. There is a genuine tone in his voice, a certain humbleness about what White Lies has become from small beginnings. Again, he thanks the fans, who reciprocate with loud cheers and claps.

People are dancing, people are cheering, clapping in unison, and singing along as White Lies play crowd-favorite after favorite, only veering from the norm for a subdued cover of Prince’s 'I Would Die 4 U'. The crowd could not be more ecstatic and pleased with the performance, the band playing at their best. When the band stood arm-in-arm after the encore for a stage bow, the crowd know that they came to see White Lies and have not been disappointed.

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