White Lies and VOWWS plunge The Cedar into darkness


Coming down off a high from Susto on Tuesday night – I made my way over to The Cedar Cultural Center for another evening music last night. “You’re always at a show,” read the text on my screen from a friend who had just opened my Snapchat. I know – it’s what we do here at Twin Cities Media. Cold nights, bands we’ve never heard of, little known venue, nothing stops us from an evening of music.

Headlining The Cedar on Wednesday night was UK-based White Lies, with support from LA-based (by way of Australia) VOWWS. Last night was definitely a departure from my folky, alt-country kick I’ve been on since RKS and CAAMP last week. However, White Lies was a much welcomed change of pace. Even more of a change of pace was the opener of the evening – VOWWS. Like so many shows before, our photographer, Markus and I walked into the evening really not knowing much about the opener but were quickly converted to fans. VOWWS , aka Matt and Rizz, is a dark electronic duo, and definitely brought a heavier sound to The Cedar last night. The Cedar is known for booking a variety of world music acts, but Markus commented that this was the darkest he’s seen The Cedar get – which hey, we don’t mind that.

VOWWS played through their roughly 45-minute set with an absolutely captivating presence. Their set was Matt (guitar) and Rizz (synth) throwing it back and forth on the vocals. His brooding voice paired with her haunting synth made for a creepy, crawly feeling, in the best possible way. Their heavier, darker sound made for a very industrial feel, but the crowd at The Cedar was into it. As drinks flowed from the volunteer-run bar in the back corner of the high-school gym feeling venue, and people gathered around the stage, it was clear VOWWS had the crowd hooked. Again – VOWWS is not what we were expecting for an opener last night, but they absolutely slayed their set with their modern day Addams Family vibe. A highlight from their set was their track Losing Myself in You (which has been officially added my work playlist), which VOWWS worked on with the renowned new-wave producer/musician Gary Numan.

White Lies kicked off their set with Take It Out on Me, off their newest album Friends, with energy turned all the way up to 100%. From the moment they took to the stage, they had the crowd dancing along, which is not always the case for the often reserved music fans of the Twin Cities. “”Minneapolis! Hello!” said frontman Harry McVeigh through his thick accent, and we were all immediately charmed. Ok, by we, I mean me.

Whites Lies set was a perfect mix of both new and old songs, from this band who has been making music for a little over a decade now, which the crowd seemed to appreciate. It’s always fun to look around and see people singing along. As someone who is “always at a show,” accordingly to a friend who will remain nameless, you become hyper aware of your surroundings – the lighting, the way the merch table is arranged, the general age and demographics of the crowd, the staging, what people are wearing, everything. Of all the elements of live shows,  I think one of my favorite things has become seeing people see a band they love. I love watching people watch a band they love. Again, it can be a band I know nothing about, but seeing people singing along to songs that clearly mean so much to them, it really is something amazing. And that was the vibe in The Cedar last night. This band means a lot to people, their lyrics resonate in a visceral way, and they’re just a really fun band.

“What a pleasure for us to be here. It really is a surprise to see all of you with us, so thank you. Thank you for coming out tonight,” said McVeigh, a man of otherwise few words on stage. And as always, the feeling was mutual.

Set list: Take It Out on Me / There Goes Our Love Again / To Lose My Life / Getting Even / The Price of Love / Farewell to the Fairground / Morning in LA / Is My Love Enough / Unfinished Business / From the Stars / A Place to Hide / Don’t Want to Feel It All / Death Encore: Big TV / Come On / Bigger Than Us