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Concert Review Crush: White Lies at Paradise Rock Club 3/28/09

March 30, 2009

My friends, Lindsay and Stefania, had never heard of White Lies and, to be fair, I hadn’t either until about three weeks ago. I’d somehow found the band somewhere online and quickly grew obsessed with the few songs I was able to find on iTunes and, later, their album To Lose My Life, released in the US on March 17. I burned a copy for Lindsay and Stefania and forced my fellow music-loving writer friends to come to the show with me at Paradise Rock Club last Saturday night.

Still being new-ish to Boston, I’d never been to The Paradise before. After purchasing a round of PBR tallboys, Lindsay commented that, “It smells like College in here,” the scent of beer and hipster sweat in the air, which may give you more of an idea of Lindsay’s undergrad years than what The Paradise actually smells like.

On stage was a San Diego band called The Soft Pack, a band of shaggy-haired wailers all in button-up plaid shirts sounding vaguely of The Misfits instrumentally and other throwback 80s punk bands. They proved to be an excellent opener for the show with the slowly-growing crowd tapping their feet to Soft Pack’s catchy tunes. A noteable song to check out is the song they closed with: “Parasites.”

In-between set time proved just long enough for Lindsay, Stefania, and I to catch a quick smoke outside and babble for a few moments about the soy chorizo at Trader Joe’s, which, from what I understand, is fairly tasty. Stefania works at the TJ’s in Brookline – go buy some soy chorizo from her and tell her Lisa sent you.

After grabbing another round of PBRs, we entered again to find White Lies opening with the title track off their album, “To Lose My Life.” “This sounds just like the CD you made me,” Stefania cried, a notable feature to consider, for the band to sound just like their album. Lindsay agreed, yelling above the music of “E.S.T.,” their second song at the show, “How are they able to sound like this!?” Harry McVeigh (guitar/singer) sings in a way that mildly reminds me of Ian Curtis, invoking the same moody, dark, melancholy feeling I get from many Joy Division songs. For example, their third song played, “Unfinished Business,” (one of my favorites) with lyrics like, “You got blood on your hands / And I know it’s mine / I just need more time / So get off your low, let’s dance like we used to,” is apparently about a male ghost haunting the girlfriend that killed him because he’s still in love her – and you thought your love life was a little screwed up.

After this third song, three very tall men stood in front of us in the crowd. I’ve never been very good at concert-going etiquette, but Stefania, being a firey Italian, demanded we be let in front of the giraffe-like hipster kids since the three of us all reside in the under-5’5″ height range. To the Hipster Giraffes’ credit, they let us in front of them. Thanks, Hipster Giraffes.

Eventually, the crowd seemed to have grown to near max capacity. The black-clad British boys of White Lies kept the crowd pumping and clapping along to their music, a dance party ensuing, which reminded me of all the indie-rock dance clubs in London. Ending their set with their single, “Death,” the crowd was left wanting more and my friends were left with talk of the pros and cons of being a groupie for the evening.

Closing out the show was Friendly Fires, a three-piece UK band reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem or vaguely The Kills, complete with dance-worthy techno beats. While this wasn’t a band I feel as if I could listen to over and over on an album, they were excellent to dance to in a club-like atmosphere. They had an excellent crowd response, with audience members simply yelling for more in between songs and dancing as a unit.

Listen – it got pretty rowdy in there. In a good way.

The show ended too early. The crowd, my friends and I included, wanted more, wanted to dance longer, wanted to sing along to a few more songs. But with Stefania having gotten into an argument with some other crowd goers about Fraggle Rock and Lindsay motorboating Stefania’s forehead, I knew it was probably time to leave the venue. While my slightly intoxicated writer friends and I walked through Allston to The Model, I texted all of my midwestern friends, demanding they all see this show the next week when the tour would find itself there.

“Are they worth seeing twice?” a friend texted back. “I might be able to see them play twice.”

“Baby, if you can see them twice,” I texted back. “Do it. White Lies is the Truth.”

You can check out a live version of The Soft Pack’s “Parasites,” below:


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  1. Nice! I need to check out this band.

  2. I need to find a way to check this band out. Glad to see they play my favorite song “E.S.T.”

  3. gah, I wish I had made it over to this show.and TJ’s soy chorizo is awesome.

  4. Thanks for the detailed review. Money kept me from seeing the White Lies show, but I'll definitely try to catch them the next time through town.

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