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White Lies struck Oakland on Wednesday on tour for their latest album Big TV.  The band’s dark, hypnotic tones mesmerized the crowd at popular venue The New Parish.  Fans flocked in from all over California and fought their way to the packed front rows.  White Lies played a solid set, incorporating well-known and well-loved songs into a mix of less heard music from their new album.  They changed up the pace from time to time, keeping the audience on their toes, but their soothing sound remained.

The band’s lead, Harry McVeigh, took the spotlight.  He was not only the most active member onstage, but the emotion on his face could be seen from across the room.  McVeigh really put on a show, lifting his arms, gripping the mic, or clapping whenever the mood struck him.  Charles Cave plays the part of a classic bassist, standing coolly by McVeigh and backing up his dramatic flair with relaxed dancing and a steady beat.  Jack Lawrence-Brown, on drums, was the yang to Cave’s yin.  His arms flew wildly as he rocked out to his own beat, enveloped in his percussion cocoon.  Partnered with their two sidemen, the members of White Lies create a solid and balanced sound.

The New Parish is an intimate venue with a well-planned layout.  It has a large floor in front of the stage so fans can wade through the crowd to get as close to their favorite musicians as possible.  There is seating upstairs where people can look down at the stage while they hang out away from the throng.  There’s plenty of room in a courtyard outside in which the music is still audible.  It was a good fit for White Lies’ music, with a laid back atmosphere that allowed everyone in the venue to be involved in his or her own way.  Attendees could sit back with a drink to enjoy the music, or lose themselves in the swaying crowd.

White Lies may not be an arena-status headlining band, but they know how to put on a performance nonetheless.  The audience was enthusiastic and active, and McVeigh kept them involved in the music throughout the show.  Band members played together well and transitioned flawlessly between songs.  White Lies is a must-see next time they’re in the area.

Words and photos Tessa Murphy

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