It'salso been the site of previous music industry events. In the early'90s, I witnessed Rick Rubin ceremoniously bury the name DefAmerican--after the word "def" turned up in the dictionary--at a mockfuneral officiated by the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Considering the fact White Lies debut album is called To Lose My Life,the first cut is titled "Death," and its members have a penchant forwearing nothing but black, the ghostly setting made some sense, but italso reeked of shtick. Whatever the case, I was happy to attend theprivate event to see this promising young act live and up close.
LikeWhite Lies sound, which is heavily influenced by early '80s post-punk,the event itself was something of a throwback to a different time. Withsagging sales in recent years, the music industry's habit ofcelebrating new releases with lavish parties has fallen by the wayside,yet Interscope/Geffen/A&M pulled out the stops for White Lies withan open-bar reception and performance in the cemetery's front hall.
I'velong held the belief that no matter how good an album might be, youcan't truly tell if a new band has the goods until you see it live. I'mhappy to report that White Lies delivered in spades during itsseven-song set. Singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh's vocals soared like ayoung Julian Cope.Drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown played with the power and precision of afinely tuned machine in perfect synch with Charles Cave's throbbingbass lines, and a auxiliary member added some nice keyboard flourishes.
Afew songs into the set, McVeigh admitted, "This is the definitelyweirdest place we've ever played." Yet as the band played, it reallydidn't seem that weird at all. Perhaps most telling was that the bandmanaged to get the usually jaded industry crowd to move, something yourarely see at this type of event. Those who think that White Lies arenothing more than a group of young, dour Joy Divisioncopyists should have seen the band's performance of "Death." McVeighmanaged to turn the song's chorus, "This fear's got a hold on me," intoa celebratory clap along. After all, if there is ever a place tocelebrate "Death," I suppose it's at a cemetery. Check out the band'sperformance of the tune on the Jools Holland show below.
After the gig, as my friend guided his car though the cemetery'snarrow roads, we noticed an illuminated American flag, hanging from acenotaph, eerily blowing in the wind. I commented on how cool itlooked, thinking was in honor of a fallen military man. But as the carveered closer, I realized it was the resting place of none other thanJohnny Ramone. My friend was kind enough to pull a u-turn to allow methe opportunity to snap a photo.Ramones, there'd be no punk rock. Without punk rock, there'd be no post-punk, without post-punk, no White Lies. What do you think?