February 2011


I have loved White Lies since the first time I heard them back in 2009. One of those bands, like The Killers, where I was instantly in love. Their first album To Lose My Life was on my top played lists for an awful long time. After a year of completely amazing gigs (including 4 ventures out to see The Killers, a Blur and Wonderstuff come back gig amongst others) we headed to Leeds Academy to see this young band.

While they couldn’t hold their own against these other much more experienced bands, they certainly didn’t disappoint. Having had somewhat of a quick rise to fame that year, they appeared a little nervous and overwhelmed on stage with lead singer Harry McVeigh’s intense dark eyes darting around with the look of a startled rabbit caught in the headlights.

This time around, was so very, very different.

We arrived just before doors opening to a queue wrapped around the building despite the pouring rain and headed for the barrier, making second row, with a good little opening for a barrier spot with a little squeezing. Fortunately for me, as the band came on a couple of girls were pulled out of the front row giving me room to get a prime position at the barrier.

White Lies had brought along two support bands again. First up was Active Child, an electronic duo from Los Angeles. I could have really got into this band if it were not for the lead singer’s voice, which was quite gorgeous when he sang deep but grated like nails down a chalk board when he went for the high notes, which was sadly way too often. They certainly didn’t endear themselves to my husband when they covered New Order’s Ceremony (although I quite enjoyed this, it being way more upbeat than their previous offerings.)

You can check them out at www.myspace.com/activechild

Next up was Crocodiles, a San Diego band with their roots firmly in 80s indie music such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and Echo and the Bunnymen. The singer, sporting a leather jacket, shades (and, in my husband’s words, Arnold J Rimmer’s uncontrollable hair), bumped, grinded and gyrated along to their upbeat, guitar heavy tracks. I loved them, I can’t wait to see more of them and I’ve just gone an bought their latest album, Sleep Forever.

You can check them out at www.myspace.com/crocodilescrocodilescrocodiles.

Crocodiles got the crowd all warmed up, and the obligatory drunken late arrivals had pushed their way to the front so it was clearly time for the main event. The excitement built and White Lies proved they had come a long way since that first gig 18 months ago. Harry walked on stage with confidence in his still intense and darting eyes, interacting with the crowd, encouraging them with fist pumps and shouts of “Come on!”, he got us all going, clearly enjoying himself and the crowd.

The 90 minute set included a mix of tracks from both their albums, smattering their energetic hits between the slower, more atmospheric material from their new album. Their three song encore featured my favourite tracks from both albums, Unfinished Business and The Power and the Glory and they ended with their latest single, Bigger Than Us, coming to the front to wave their goodbyes before finally leaving the stage.

The gig was all that I was hoping for and more, a throughly exhausting, sweaty, exhilerating night, and a great set up for the first of what I hope will be many gigs this year. I’m covered in bruises and wearing every single one with pride. White Lies have set the standard and there’s going to have to be some tremendous performances to beat them this year.

It was great to see just how far they have come in this short period of time, I’m sure they’ll be taking the stadiums on soon.

Yesterday fan club only pre-sale tickets became available for a few select shows Brandon Flowers is playing in the States. As usual it became a bun-fight as fans fought against touts to get tickets, which were gone in minutes and on eBay at extortionate prices with the hour.

It really makes me angry that these people are able to infiltrate the fan club, get their hands on these tickets and sell them at ridiculous prices before they have even gone on general sale. Touts annoy me at the best of times, but when they take tickets that are meant to go to the diehard fans, one of the little perks the band gives out to thank them for their loyalty and support, it really, really angers me, especially when I see my friends disappointed and upset because they couldn’t get tickets.

Unfortunately there appears to be little can be done about it, the fan club can’t vet each member, and it’s hard to prove who they are in order to ban them. While people are still desperate enough to pay the prices, the touts will stay in business, and unfortunately in some cases, it’s not even touts, but so called fans that are selling the tickets for a profit.

Of course part of the problem here is that Brandon is playing much smaller venues than he could fill, so demand is much greater than the supply, even without the touts, people are going to be disappointed, which forces the prices up even higher on eBay.

This week the Arctic Monkeys announced two huge dates in Sheffield, billing them as “for the fans” they have gone to great lengths to try and ensure that tickets can’t be sold on. Only four tickets can be bought per billing address, each ticket will have the last four digits of the card used to purchase them printed on it, and the cardholder must be present with the card on entry to the gig. How effective this will be remains to be seen, these are huge gigs with 10s of thousands of ticket holders, it seems doubtful that every ticket holder will be checked.

The only way we will ever stop touts from ripping off fans is when people stop buying from them, so don’t buy from the touts kids, you might miss out this time, but in the future everyone will have an equal chance of get a ticket at a fair price.

For some time now I’ve been wanting to make a workout mix for the gym. I usually just stick my iPod on shuffle and go for it, but it can be annoying when a track comes on that doesn’t really fit with the exercise you are doing at the time. Music also triggers memories so if I do the same exercises to the same music all the time it helps me remember where I am in the workout so I can concentrate more on the exercise I’m doing and let the music tell me where I am.

So here is the playlist I came up with, it may need some tweaks, but it’s working for now.

To kick off with I do a 20 minute warm up on the bike. I don’t particularly enjoy the exercise bike, so I mixed a couple of some new favourites with some old favourites to get me through it, with a slower song at the end to remind me to slow down for the cool down.

Animal – Neon Trees
Losing Composure – Transfer
Atomic – Blondie
Echo Beach – Martha & The Muffins
Reward – The Teardrop Explodes
Lust For Life – Igyy Pop
Return To Innocence – Enigma

Next up is some stretches, which I find a little boring, so I’ve stuck quite a long track there to make sure I see them through to the end.

Angel – Massive Attack

For weight lifting I like something a little aggressive:

19-2000 – Gorillaz
The Way I Am – Eminem
Smack My Bitch Up – The Prodigy
Vox Populi – Thirty Seconds to Mars

Then it’s on to some high energy dance for the cross-trainer:

Time to Burn – Storm
Silence – Delirium
Sky Fits Heaven – Madonna

The final stage of workout is the treadmill which, call me crazy, but I love it, so to increase my enjoyment it’s mainly made up of my two favourite bands in the world, Depeche Mode and The Killers. I threw a couple of other bands in there though just for variety, with a cool down track at the end. Most of the tracks are either remixes or live versions, so they have a little extra energy and a little extra length to them than the originals.

Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
Read My Mind – The Killers
Nothing – Depeche Mode
Somebody Told Me – The Killers
Recover – The Automatic
Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode
When You Were Young – The Killers
Barber: Adagio For Strings – William Orbit

Finally, cool down stretches:

Cafe Del Mar – Energy 52

And that’s me done.