May 31st, 2011

Loopster Live: White Lies at Fitzgerald’s

Some people are locavores. In fact, The Loop Scoop is predicated upon the ideals of supporting local businesses. It’s a bit of a bubble in which to live. We’ve become so Houston-centric, that we’re not even sure what’s going on out in Sugarland, much less Seattle. It stands to reason that I’m a bit of a locoustic (let’s take a musical spin on the local theory). When White Lies played at Fitzgerald’s on Wednesday night, I had no idea that it was their last North American tour date (and will only come back for a one-time engagement at Lollapalooza) until the next day. That’s kind of a big deal.

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White Lies is a throwback to the epic loneliness of the 80s. Grand synthesized beats with eerie background echoes sneaking in and out of each long. Each song is an outward attack on the social norms of love and life as much as its a cry for help. To see the reciprocity between band and crowd in the upstairs venue of Fitzgerald’s was quite a treat. White Lies had just the spoonful of hopelessness that Houston fans needed.

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Asobi Seksu revved up the throngs waiting for the Londoners to take the stage. All four-foot-nothing of Yuki Chikudate tore through the space behind the keyboards as she attacked the microphone. Not being familiar with most of their music, all I could do was stand back and watch in awe as the tiny package flipping out in front of me captivated my senses. The band out of Brooklyn (a sentence fragment I seem to be typing over and over these days) recently released Fluorescence in the middle of February and has since found it’s way into my stack of 2011 albums. I’m a sucker for the opener every time I go to a concert.

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Speaking of new albums, White Lies sent Ritual off to the distributors for a January 18th date with the adoring public. After being enthralled with 2009’s To Lose My Life…, I wasn’t going to let a little critical panning of the sophomore attempt to keep me from supporting the band, especially when their playing live in my town. I’ll admit that some of the lyrics shoved into Ritual are an assault on the English language (the Queen’s or otherwise). That being said, White Lies focused almost entirely on the material of To Lose My Life… during their set. A sigh of relief for at least one fan.

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To use one word to describe the entire show “epic” comes to mind. Not in the sense of “you-wouldn’t-believe-what-happened,” but more along the lines of “bigger, badder, audacious.” Whereas I might say the current lyrical practices of White Lies is an assault on language, their show was an assault on my senses in the best ways possible. Even if the critics don’t agree that “going bigger” in the studio for the newest album worked in the London quintets favor, it certainly does them all the favor in the world while on stage. From start to finish, Harry McVeigh and crew barely let the crowd catch its breath.

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The London-based crew finished their set with “Farewell to the Fairgrounds” from their first album, only to return to play a three-song encore set which strung together to climax with the hit single “Bigger than Us” from Ritual. While the fans crammed against the stage and lost themselves in the sing-along of the set, I found my way to the back of the venue to take it all in. There reminders that critics aren’t everything and the music being for the people alone were everywhere. A mix of Englishmen and women and American college students stood there enraptured by music that they all hold dear.

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[All photos taken by Paul at Fitzgerald's. Find more on White Lies and more Asobi Seksu on Flickr.]

— Paul

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