Live Review: White Lies – O2 Academy Leeds

It seems like an age ago that the gloomy, dark, To Lose My Life was released by London band White Lies. In 2009 they were a band that seemed set on creating dark post-punk sounds and their debut charted at Number 1 in the UK Charts in some style. Ten years on, the band have completely reinvented their sound with their brand new record Five, and there is absolutely no doubt their newly energised live set, has benefited from this release massively.

Opening the show was Canadian band Boniface who have gone from strength to strength since we first saw the band last May at Hit The North festival. Their strong 80s vibe is slowly getting perfected with each passing show and they played to a cracking crowd with Boniface merch shown on a lot of adoring fans. Micah Visser (Lead Vocals) has a real charm with his performance and looked genuinely at home on the big Academy stage. I would recommend jumping aboard the Boniface train before they blow up because with their perfect blend of 80s pop and Killers rock – they’re going to go very far in 2019 and into the next decade. Superb!

It was then the turn of the main act, White Lies were clearly up for this one as they came out in true White Lies fashion with a, nearly, eight minute rendition of Time To Give, one of the standouts on the new record. The lights lifted as the song ended and it was the perfect warmup to what turned into two hours of greatest hits mixed with the majority of the new album.

There was a real energy that I feel has been lacking for a while from the three-piece’s set. The additional keyboard player added real depth on the live stage and as they rattled through the 21 song set, Hold Back Your Love, Finish Line and Take It Out On Me shone in the first half. Friends, their fourth record, is one that I feel is largely underrated, but the five tracks performed added plenty to the set and in moments, were the highlights altogether.

New tracks Tokyo and Fire and Wings proved that the band are in their prime right now and the mass singalongs on all of the released tracks from Five show they are as current as ever, and the fans have stuck with them throughout. I imagine much like The Wombats or Franz Ferdinand, the band are gaining new fans with the release of this more commercial (yet enjoyable) new music. White Lies have since been announced as the Thursday night headliner at Y Not Festival and will once again gain a new younger fanbase there, allowing their music to live on even longer.

Whilst Ritual, critically and commercially has been the bands biggest flop, there was nobody in the room doubting the decision to close the set on record highlight Bigger Than Us. The song was a true epic on the live stage, ending the show perfectly. The gig was a real return to form for a band that perhaps never actually lost it. I was utterly impressed throughout and even not being the biggest fan – enjoyed the entirety and would recommend you give Five a listen, and catch the band this summer at any opportunity!

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