Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Katja Ogrin

White Lies cascaded into Birmingham for the final night of their UK Five tour before heading out to Europe and sell out shows in the Americas. The three piece from Ealing brought their synth fused indie style to the iconic Institute main room supported by Canada’s Boniface, the crowd warmed up pretty quick as they were in for a treat tonight.

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Supports can always be hit or miss if you’ve never heard of them before but like the fans who attended Just Jack many years ago and witnessed a young lad by the name of Ed Sheeran entertain them with his guitar, it’s always worth getting to the gig early to support the opening act as you can discover some right gems. Boniface is no exception to this, named after the district the lead singer Micah learnt to play his instruments in Winnipeg. Within the first two songs the crowd were clapping along and bopping on the spot.

Their unique blend of synth rock shone through as they powered through a mini set list with Micah showing off his ability to play the keyboard upside down as a hidden talent to accompany his guitar and vocal talents. Showcasing tracks ‘Phantom Limbs’ and ‘I Will Not Return As A Tourist’ from the EP of the same name, the crowd clapped frantically through each track.

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As violet and yellow beams filled the venue Micah took time to appreciate the audience “We’d like to say thank you so much for coming to see us tonight and before the main act, it means a lot.”

With the Institute packed to the rafters it was no surprise that the finale of their UK tour had sold out, the upper balcony had been opened for three levels full of supporters. On the balcony I met a gent called Frasier who had travelled from Leamington to see the guys perform. Describing how he’d been listening to Radio 2 and the track ‘Believe It’ made him stop in his tracks and class White Lies as one of his top three artists. He gushed about how he’d had a meet and greet before the show and that the lads were so down to earth, which is lovely to hear about artists, that they have time for fans in this way.

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With a ten year career behind them, the audience were a mix of ages, the more mature crowd who had been there from the start and the youngsters who had came on board just before latest offering ‘Five’ was released yet all sang along in unison together to the amazing set list. ‘Hold Back Your Love’, ‘Believe It’ and ‘Death’ had the audience clapping along, foot stomping as violet lights shone through the night alternating with Brechtian lighting and white spot lights.

Lead singer Harry had the teens screaming as he alternated between vocals and guitar as he purred the synth indie vibes boomed around the venue. “Thanks guys you’ve been fun, a great way to end our UK tour”, he left the adoring audience chanting for “One More Song”.

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As the venue erupted Harry appeared back behind the keyboard. He slowed things down in the sweaty venue with a rendition of ‘Changes’ the melody swayed the audience back and forth as the music hit them. ‘Fire and Wings’ and ‘Bigger Than Us’ left them fully satisfied as the band thanked them again for their support over the last ten years and promised they’d be back soon, until then next stop Europe…

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