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MP3 of the Day #756: White Lies

By on Wednesday, 5th June 2013 at 10:00 am

After drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown was baiting us for days, there is now new White Lies to savour. Track ‘Getting Even’ is, unmistakably, them. Harry McVeigh’s voice of doom still booms, there’s still a huge guitar sound on this track, with the underlying percussion mesmerising as always. Is the synth more prominent on this song? I think so. You can listen to and grab ‘Getting Even’ for free below.

We’ll see the fruits of their labour since ‘Ritual’ on third album ‘Big TV’, out on the 12th of August on Fiction Records.


Top Gigs of 2011: Editor’s Picks

By on Wednesday, 21st December 2011 at 1:00 pm

It’s always hard to nail down your favourite gigs of the year. Sometimes it’s the company you keep; sometimes it’s the excitement in the crowd; sometimes it’s the sound that blows you away. These top 5 gigs were the cream of the crop of my gigging life in 2011.

5. the Coronas at Washington’s Red Palace (Tuesday 8th March 2011) – When you play in a town for the first time, you need to endear yourself to the audience. This Irish band lit up the crowd at this relatively newbie club on the DC scene.

4. the Joy Formidable at Washington’s Black Cat (Friday 25th March 2011) – Any naysayers of ‘The Big Roar’ were quickly turned into fans after the Welsh trio released their sonic wall of fury.

3. White Lies at Washington’s 9:30 Club (Friday 20th May 2011) – The first time Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown strolled into town (with Friendly Fires as co-headliners at the Cat), they looked very uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. Two years and 2 months later, they returned, dripping with confidence and swagger. They first appeared to us as boys; now they are men!

2. Dutch Uncles at Manchester Deaf Institute (Friday 2nd December 2011) – Manchester band at the top of their game, at home, in front of an adoring crowd. ‘nuff said.

1. Casiokids at Washington’s DC9 (Monday 17th October 2011) – Not too many bands can turn a sleepy, cold club on a Monday night in Washington into an all-out dance party. But Casiokids can – and did. Unbelievable. Definitely the most fun at a gig I’ve had all year, all courtesy of a couple of guys from Norway.

After the jump is a full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2011 so you can have some idea how difficult my job was to choose favourites for the top 5 list. The runner-up gigs (gigs that fell were in my top 10 but did not make my top 5) are also marked.
Continue reading Top Gigs of 2011: Editor’s Picks


Leeds 2011: Day 2 (John’s Roundup)

By on Wednesday, 7th September 2011 at 2:00 pm

Five minutes of rain was all the heavens had in store for us on Saturday at Leeds. On a day which promised to be the heaviest of the weekend, with acts like Bring Me the Horizon, Rise Against and headliners My Chemical Romance gracing the main stage, the weather held off and it was primarily dry.

To kick off the day of music were the Blackout, who brought by far the Welshest set of the weekend. ‘STFUppercut’ was loud and hit with the ferocity of a festival goer with a full bladder running to the loo. ‘Children of the Night’, which in my humblest of opinions is their most solid track, sounded weak and laboured, no matter how much front men Sean Smith and Gavin Butler bounced about the stage.

New Found Glory were up next and found themselves in a familiar position to last time they played in 2009 where they were 3rd on the main stage once before. They opened with easily their best offering ‘All Downhill From Here’ and well… It really was. Nobody was expecting a set full of hits, because the band doesn’t have any. ‘My Friend’s Over You’ simply sounded like the whines of an unwanted child and the rest of the set just isn’t worth explaining. Poor throughout. As expected.

The failure of the Main Stage bands to whet my appetite led me to fresher pastures. My first port of call was the Festival Republic stage, where acts like Franz Ferdinand have cut their teeth and gone on to headline. A band familiar to TGTF were next up; they played 2nd on the bill on TGTF’s stage at Brighton’s Great Escape this year. Foster the People are currently riding on the crest of a wave with their hit single ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ that has been played to death on Radio 1. This has done them a world of good though, because as with all hotly-tipped acts on the stage the tent was bursting to the brim. For good reason, these boys were fantastic and thoroughly deserve all the plaudits being given to them by the press at the moment. Even with the briskly cold weather Foster the People managed to create a ray of sunshine in the tent.

Back to the Main Stage I ventured then. Up next was punk rockers Rise Against, who immediately came out with a mission, it was going to be mosh pit central and I don’t think we had a choice about it. To go from Foster the People to Rise Against was a bit of a culture shock, but festivals are about diversity in music and I think there can be few similarities seen between these acts. Rise Against’s set was frantic, with guitars roaring above the wind, with ‘Savior’ sounded positively epic in the Main Stage’s surroundings and ‘Prayer Of The Refugee’ had the entire crowd singing along.

Booze by this point was taking its toll on my body and my decision making capabilities, so it was to no surprise that I was convinced by my fellow festivalers that going to the Dance tent for some sweaty raving was a fantastic idea. Nero were playing a DJ set and with hits like ‘Promises’ and ‘Guilt’, they were going down an absolute storm in the confines of what the day before was the Lock Up Stage. It was the set afterwards that really, excuse the cliché, blew the roof off though. ‘Sub-Focus’ took the crowd in the palm of their hand and easily had people skanking to their will. The beats were infectious, dirty and the perfect mix for a bunch of booze infused teenagers with 90% attempting to pull.

With a quick dash/stumble across the site to the NME stage I was able to catch the spectacle that is Noah and the Whale. The nu-folk dealio had been done last year with Mumford and Sons, but while nobody can fully excuse Noah from being mainstream there was by far a more eclectic crowd gathered than for the heaving mob created by Marcus Mumford and co. The tracks from their new record didn’t seem forced upon the crowd: the masses received them with joy and while movement was low, the joy amongst the fans was apparent to all. They are a band on top of their game at the moment, playing beautiful music to fans who adore them.

Up next were gloom rockers White Lies. Opener ‘Farewell to the Fairground’s’ trademark drums got the people in the tent excited, and for good reason, as this was surely to be one of the sets of the festival so far. White Lies didn’t fail to disappoint; Harry McVeigh’s voice resonated among the punters with an eerie gloom, while the bass roared to life in the background. Set closer ‘Bigger Than Us’ for sure has to be nominated for the loudest song of the festival award, as I was surprised the people at Reading couldn’t hear the drum beat blasting along.

Headlining the evening was My Chemical Romance, another band with a troubled Reading and Leeds history. MCR were bottled off during their last visit to the Reading site in 2006 and vowed that they would never return to the festival unless they were headlining. Five years later and the emo pin-up boys had done it. They were headlining the Main Stage and wow, you could tell they loved it.
‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’ was greeted to roars from the crowd, as Gerard Way patrolled around the stage akin to a general directing his troops. The energy was frantic during the opener; you could tell the boys on stage were playing like their lives depended on it. It was paying off though; naysayers and MCR skeptics all about the Main Stage crowd surely were having their heads turn by the display of blasé rock ‘n’ roll on show in front of them.

If that wasn’t enough they followed it up with their now classic ‘I’m Not OK (I Promise),’ fists were already pumping all around the crowd, flares being lit left right and centre. The band powered through a set with all the hits and songs from their newest record, with the highlights including the glorious sing-along that is ‘S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W’ and a ferocious rendition of ‘Famous Last Words’. To finish the set though there could only be one song. The anthem that saw them loved my millions, yet tarnished by the brand of a suicide cult. ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ was everything it was meant to be though that night, a triumphant call to arms, awry with guitar solo’s that Queen would be proud off. A successful set then for MCR, one which can leave few doubting that this band deserves to headline bills like this.


White Lies / December 2011 UK Tour

By on Monday, 27th June 2011 at 9:00 am

White Lies have announced a series of shows in December, including their largest one to date at Wembley on 17 December. Tickets are on sale now.

For a taste of their live show these days, read our D.C. review from May.

Monday 12th December 2011 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Tuesday 13th December 2011 – Manchester Apollo
Thursday 15th December 2011 – Glasgow Academy
Saturday 17th December 2011 – London Wembley Arena


Video of the Moment #505: White Lies

By on Tuesday, 21st June 2011 at 6:00 pm

First person to tell me what all these different ‘chapters’ of White Lies‘ new video for ‘Holy Ghost’ have to do with the song…you get a prize. I’ll think of something.

This has to be one of the oddest videos I’ve ever seen. I have to give them credit though: from the lyrics, they could have easily told the sordid story of an underage streetwalker and they didn’t.



Live Review: White Lies with Sun Airway and Asobi Seksu at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 20th May 2011

By on Tuesday, 24th May 2011 at 2:00 pm

I owe White Lies a massive, massive apology. I just wasn’t feeling ‘Ritual’ at all when I reviewed in January. However, I can now vouch that these songs sound absolutely amazing live, and the band deliver them with such intensity that afterwards I felt like I was charged up with thousands of watts of energy. They were that good. First up though were Philadelphia’s Sun Airway; I just wasn’t feeling them. The first song they played had a programmed drum track, but they have a drummer with a drum kit onstage. Odd. Their singer Jon Barthmus told Pitchfork that his wife said they sounded like Animal Collective (check out their song ‘American West’). Maybe the masses would think they do, but their performance this night will probably be remembered for the equipment snafus that broke up their set (drum hook-up issue, and a problem with queueing up a video from someone’s iPod).

Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna, plus touring bandmates Billy Pavon and Larry Gorman, New York’s Asobi Seksu (Friendly Fire Recordings labelmates to the Phenomenal Handclap Band and Violens, were next. I sound vaguely like the xx or Bat for Lashes, but much harder instrumentally (for more, watch the video for ‘Trails’ below). Chikudate’s voice is not only unique because it runs the gamut from twee to hard rocking, but also because she’s Japanese and sings some lyrics in her native tongue. I think I can speak for all music-loving Oriental girls that we want her job: playing a synth; singing her heart out; and swinging her head to and fro, hair flying. Understandably, most of Asobi Seksu’s set list came from their new album released in February, ‘Fluorescence’, but also included ‘Thursday’ an earlier song of theirs that has soundtracked Skins and American show The L Word.


So, I went into this show thinking the old White Lies big hits that the indie kids dance to – ‘To Lose My Life’, ‘Death’, ‘Unfinished Business’, ‘Farewell to the Fairground – would stick out strangely in the set among the very dark songs from ‘Ritual’. I was dead wrong. This is a band that knows how to play with their fans’ heartstrings and get them to dance, jump and throw their fists up in the air. I first saw White Lies 2 years ago on an “NME Presents” tour of North America, shortly after ‘To Lose Your Life…’ had gone to #1; they were co-headlining with Friendly Fires. Even though I liked both bands, Friendly Fires better commanded the audience. At the time, I think White Lies didn’t have the confidence the St. Albans boys did. But forget that, because it’s plain to see from the audience reaction that White Lies have come into their own with this new album. And it’s wonderful to see this transformation.

I still think the words of ‘Holy Ghost’ are creepy. However, I can overlook this by how powerful this song is live: McVeigh’s emotionally charged vocals, Cave’s peerless bass playing (the effortless way he played nearly made this amateur player keel over in incredulity) and Jack Lawrence-Brown’s unflagging drumming skills make it. ‘The Power and the Glory’, a song I initially did not like on record but a favourite of many fans and even Steve Lamacq, won me over.

The show ended somewhat predictably with ‘Bigger Than Us’, their greeting to the world last autumn after being absent for so long. But you can’t fault the band on this or any other song this night: every instrument, vocal and detail was on point and well done. We don’t give gigs ratings here at TGTF – my opinion is, bands shouldn’t be penalised for nonband-related issues such as problems with the venue’s sound system and other technical difficulties. But White Lies were at the top of their game Friday night and if I were to give this gig a rating, it’d be 9.99.

More photos and set lists behind the cut.

Continue reading Live Review: White Lies with Sun Airway and Asobi Seksu at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 20th May 2011


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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