As if getting back to Portland wasn’t challenging enough for White Lies, the London-based group had their originally scheduled date of February 8 postponed until April 22. And nothing could have sounded sweeter to the crowd of loyal fans at the Roseland Theater, who had waited an additional five year stretch for White Lies’ return to the Rose City.
Riding the wave of their third full length release, 2013’s Big TV, showed White Lies to be in prime form. In the midst of a current tour that included stops at Coachella, it marked the band’s long awaited return to Portland. In a gracious show of appreciation, frontman Harry McVeigh greeted the audience with expressed delight, happy to be back in Portland.
White Lies started the evening with the title track from To Lose My Life, with McVeigh singing a tale of daring love with boldness and urgency before bursting into There Goes Our Love Again, accompanied by punctuating guitars and spinning synthesizers.
McVeigh powered the band through a briskly paced, 16-song, 80 minute set, with almost half the songs featured from their latest release, Big TV. Alternating between new and older tracks, White Lies followed with the anthemic pledge of Place To Hide, also from To Lose My Life, and the newly penned Mother Tongue.
Known for the retro snyth-driven melodies of passionate emotion, the reserved yet spirited McVeigh conveyed a relaxed energy, singing warmly and engaging the crowd between songs. He comfortably lead the band through tracks from all three releases, with band mates Charles Cave on bass, keyboards and backing vocals, and drummer Jack Brown. The trio was joined by touring musicians, keyboardist Thomas Bowen and guitarist-keyboardist Robert Lee, both who added resilient backing vocals.
The band’s sound was tight and evenly mixed as White Lies filled the Roseland with their richly melodic tales of love, passion and desire. Showcasing three more new tunes, the band featured the struggle of romantic discord on Getting Even and the equally remissive Goldmine, and including the sentimental ballad, First Time Caller.
The band gave equal time to songs from To Lose My Life including A Place to Hide, Farewell to the Fairground, E.S.T., and, by McViegh’s emotional recounting, the reason and song responsible for White Lies being here in the first place, their first single, Unfinished Business.
McVeigh and company completed their regular set with the fearless and hopeful refrain of Death, and concluded their main set to adoring cheers, who clamored for more. After brief time off stage, White Lies animatedly returned to their instruments for two-song encore and finishing with the big sound of Big TV and Bigger Than Us.
As McVeigh waved and thanked the crowd for their support, he sincerely hoped the band’s return would be sooner than the five year that had just passed. The politely mannered English gentlemen assembled center stage with McVeigh and bowed good night.