The elegant and dramatic – yet absolutely rocking – band White Lies played Showbox at the Market in April. The English trio, singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh, bassist Charles Cave and drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown, has achieved what few bands actually have: three great records (and, I hope, counting). From 2009’s To Lose My Life. . to Ritual in 2011, then to last year’s Big TV, this group has created reliably excellent music. Why other bands can be so inconsistent is confusing, but there’s a certainty about White Lies’ music I have come to expect ever since receiving a demo of “Death/Black Song.”
Things are still pretty somber with White Lies’ songs, from content to delivery. But that somberness becomes strangely uplifting. The group, clad all in black, wafted songs to the audience with lyrics such as “You’ve got blood on your hands, and I know it’s mine,” “Now be a good girl and do what you’re told,” and “Let’s grow old together, and die at the same time.” McVeigh’s deep voice was gorgeous, and as far as bands’ rhythm sections go, White Lies’ rates way at the top. If you ever worry about a live show likely to sound just like the recorded version, check out a White Lies’ show and you’ll see they just don’t do that. Somehow the songs grew during the live show, not just louder, but totally dominating.
I’m fortunate in that I have seen all three White Lies’ shows in Seattle since 2009, two at Neumos and one at the Showbox. They are always so powerful. Some of my favorites from the recent visit were: “To Lose My Life,” “There Goes Our Love Again,” “Farewell to the Fairground,” “Unfinished Business,” “Be Your Man” and “Getting Even.”