British rock concerts are well known for their raucous and chaotic atmosphere, where bands like the Sex Pistols would thrash venues all in the name of anarchy and passion. This time however, it was a last minute change of location that created the sense of upheaval. Perhaps rather naively, promoters had booked White Lies to play at The Coliseum, one of Singapore’s larger music venues. Unsurprisingly, ticket sales never met their expectations and so to save the band from the embarrassment of playing to a scarce audience, the show was moved to TAB.
Against this backdrop of disorganisation and poor market research, we began to wonder: what would the attitude of White Lies be? Surely there must have been a certain level of disappointment that came with the relocation. No doubt their promotors had puffed them up with promises of multitudes of fans.
This was their second attempt at a show in Singapore. The first was unceremoniously cancelled at the last minute (a common theme to their shows) in 2011. The crowd, having waited three years to finally see them strut their stuff, were unfazed. At first glimpse of the band, the screams set tone for the rest of the set.
And it seemed like White Lies were equally unaffected. Stirring the crowd into a sea of clapping hands, lead singer Harry McVeigh revelled in our adoration. At one point he stood centre stage, arms aloft in messianic fashion, soaking up the raw passion of the audience.
The band never failed to please the crowd, injecting their well loved hits ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ and ‘First Time Caller’ in-between the album tracks such that even a casual listener would have had a good time.
However for all the punch and bite that their set possessed, White Lies suffered the usual mid-set fatigue that seems to plague most acts these days. There came a point when the songs seemed to meld together as one long post-punk jam, leaving us feeling somewhat as drowned as McVeigh’s reverb drenched vocals.
They made us wait until the very end for ‘Bigger Than Us’, but it was well worth it. The good showing more than made up for the build-up. However it begs the question, how well do the promotors really understand the landscape of Singapore’s music scene?
by Andrew Koay