Words and images by Braden Fletcher
It’s common practice to be apprehensive about big companies putting on a musical showcase, but when Spotify and Three teamed up to form two Now Playing shows; one in London, one in Manchester, the resulting shows were nothing short of brilliant. So on 28th October, hundreds of lucky competition winners have descended on Shoreditch to the Town Hall, which is not a gig venue. No, the Town Hall is a regal and classical building. Perfect you might say, for the dark, majestic tracks of White Lies.
As I enter the room, I’m surrounded by amazing architecture, and towering above me, in the higher reaches of the hall is a Jesus-esque DJ, attempting to liven the crowd up. First on this evening are Andy Burrows’ band I Am Arrows. Their folk influenced pop/rock tracks filling but not quite inspiring the hall’s crowd. After a half hour set though, the crowd do show their appreciation even if they haven’t really moved aside from to visit the bar. As the venue fills up, it’s almost time for the next band. Everything Everything, having released Man Alive during the summer, are riding on a high. The Manchester group’s synth-indie tracks surprisingly fit in well with the surroundings and both band and crowd seem to enjoy themselves through tracks such as My Kz Yr Bf and fan favourite Suffragette Suffragette even if still for most of the remainder of the 45minute appearance.
Everyone’s here for two reasons tonight. Reason one, they won tickets for a free night out. Reason two, White Lies. Having sold out York Hall in London in a matter of minutes a fortnight ago, for fans being able to attend tonight, this is a real treat. With the promise of new tracks being previewed, it’s unclear as to how the set will be filled. Taking to the stage with cheeky grins, the band is quite confident. Starting with new track Strangers, it’s clear there’s not a huge gap between old music and new. The sweeping tones of this and many other new tracks played tonight show with the set comprising of almost exactly half of each album, this is as near to a showcase and a perfect album preview as will be seen until the release of the album in January (assuming you weren’t lucky enough to grab tickets to their show in York Hall, London.)
The huge bass line leads the lyrics of Holy Ghost whilst inversely; the synth sounds of Streetlights are a highlight of the evening. Each new track seems to fit in seamlessly with older material, although crowd reaction says a lot for some of the latter tracks of the evening. Some seem to lack the power and genius of To Lose My Life, but when each is followed by a track from that album, it’s easy to forget. The biggest reaction comes to the closing two tracks. Death and Farewell to the Fairground prove to be the perfect way to end the night. As ever “Let’s grow old together, and die at the same time” is the loudest sound of the gig, but I can’t see a more fitting way to refresh everyone’s memory and keep White Lies on their dark climb to the top of modern music.