Update [Sept 30/09, 11:46 pm]: Review now posted below!
Since the last time UK's White Lies played live in Toronto back on March 31, 2009 at Lee's Palace, I'd thought perhaps a little momentum in their popularity upswing may have been lost. There was an understandable buzz with them when they played Lee's Palace given their debut album "To Lose My Life"'s recent release at the time and their NME-approved status, and God knows how Toronto loves its NME and UK bands. Press on the band seemed to have quietened down since then and promotion for their show at the Phoenix seemed almost non-existent. So while the show (an early one at that) this past Saturday night at the Phoenix Concert Theatre was not sold out there was a healthy attendance. Further, I was taken off guard by how warmly received the band was and it seemed their popularity and fan devotion had only gotten stronger.
Local post-punk mopesters Heaven opened the show. They seem to be a relatively new band as I'd never heard of them before. Unfortunately I'd missed most of their set by the time I'd arrived but what I'd heard seemed enjoyable if somewhat dreary. Not necessarily music to slit your wrists to but maybe for wallowing in your own self-pity. Ok, I'm being sarcastic. Actually, I'm quite enjoying some of the samples on their MySpace some of which present some nice atmospheric, shoegazey, female-sung melodiciscm. They're a band I'd watch out for in the future. They'll be playing the opening band role when they open for Jeremy Jay on November 8 at a venue TBA then for UK's The Big Pink at Lee's Palace on November 29.
At this point in White Lie's career so far it's already apparent they've run the course touring their debut album and it's almost inevitable the band'll take a break after this tour to write new material. Fans were quite vocal singing along with the band at many times during the show. Unexpectedly, the band's music somehow encouraged periodic episodes of body-surfing to the dissatisfaction of security who'd practically threw a few patrons(who'd ended up on stage after they're body surfing experience) back into the audience. But so was the enthusiasm of the audience that night and the band seemed genuinely in awe of the overwhelming response. Generously, the band played their debut album "To Lose My Life" in its entirety, throwing in 'Taxidermy'(which is the b-side to the 'To Lose My Life' limited edition 7-inch single) as well as a band cover of Portishead's 'The Rip' which wasn't nearly as effective as Portishead's original version but still was enjoyable. At first, I'd thought that having their band name emblazoned on a backdrop behind the band was a bit presumptuous, but then witnessing Toronto's stirring response to the band and the show, I realized they've totally earned it.
Photos: White Lies @ Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto (September 26, 2009)
MySpace: White Lies
Video: White Lies - "The Rip" (Portishead cover) live @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, September 26 2009