Peter Guy slammed their record, but in the live arena Getintothis’ Greg O’Keeffe insists Editors are worthy headliners…
A PECULIAR thing has happened to Editors since I last saw them play in Liverpool.
It seems like the brooding four-piece who united critics in favour of their dark debut album Ã¢ÂÂThe Back RoomÃ¢ÂÂ have suddenly been embraced by the nation.
With a penchant for gloomy, ennui-drenched lyrics and the Ian Curtis crooning of frontman Tom Smith they didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem the type to break onto the Asda shelves.
But thankfully, top 40 status, celebrity girlfriends and second-album syndrome have had no ill-effect.
They reminded everyone of their quality at Liverpool University last Wednesday night and were well-supported by two interesting bands worth watching.
US band Ra Ra Riot have been on my radar for a few months and come tipped by Rolling Stone and NME.
Their off-kilter, Arcade Fire-tinged tracks (augmented with a concise string section) promises many good things and tracks like Ã¢ÂÂDying is FineÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂEach YearÃ¢ÂÂ share delicate roots before blossoming into stompers, again reminiscent of some of the best moments from Ã¢ÂÂFuneralÃ¢ÂÂ.
That they are touring is impressive enough after drummer John Pike drowned in New York in June. Give them a listen (here).
Next up were Danish group The Kissaway Trail who also bring to mind Yank luminaries Mercury Rev and The Polyphonic Spree.
They played a dense, atmospheric set with the odd instrumental track woven in and definitely won over the healthy group who swerved the bar.
Recent single ‘Smother+evil=hurt‘ was a standout and fans of Smashing Pumpkins should give them a listen (here).
Anyway, to Editors. They kicked things off with the title track from second album Ã¢ÂÂAn End Has A StartÃ¢ÂÂ which is a tiny bit misleading in terms of the whole album proper.
A belting track it would have sat perfectly on superb debut Ã¢ÂÂThe Back RoomÃ¢ÂÂ with thumping bass, angular guitars and almost dancy rhythm which has become Editors signature sound. But the second album is a lot more prosaic and filled with more sprawling, atmospheric tracks then the Back Room.
This isnÃ¢ÂÂt a criticism of the album, because itÃ¢ÂÂs a good ‘un – a grower and natural evolution from their first. The problem is that the slower tracks donÃ¢ÂÂt translate as well live.
Previous Editors gigs have left me breathless and this one kind of left me distracted. The spine of their live set is still the remarkable clutch of singles; ‘Bullets‘, ‘Munich‘, ‘Blood‘, ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors‘ and ‘Sparks‘.
But while tracks like ‘SmokeÃ¢ÂÂ, Ã¢ÂÂFingers in the FactoriesÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂWhen Anger ShowsÃ¢ÂÂ are interesting and evocative at home with your feet up they left me a bit cold. Maybe it was the venue. Liverpool Uni offers essentially a big sports hall and bands with a more intimate side can struggle there.
But regardless, the varied crowd from bearded Q readers to students to proper Bombardier-supping dads-of-four loved every bit of this.
Tom SmithÃ¢ÂÂs intoxicating voice, in parts InterpolÃ¢ÂÂs Paul Banks, Nick Cave and of course Mr Curtis, never fails to captivate.
The wiry singer has grown in stature and confidence from Editors early days and works the crowd more with his mix of theatrical gesturing and coy banter.
Meanwhile ultra-talented lead guitarist Chris Urbanowicz can take credit for Editors rack of killer riffs and looks the part, standing lost in his own talent barely looking up under a startlingly emo fringe.
Equally the Editors are a good band because they are above average in every department and drummer Ed Lay makes Ã¢ÂÂSmokers..’ an epic while bassist Russell Leetch shines on Munich and Blood with some classic lines.
The group ended with a three-song encore containing Ã¢ÂÂSmokers….Ã¢ÂÂ and then departed for London and a BBC electric proms gig.
Still an essential band live and on record, they might just spread the slower numbers more evenly next time theyÃ¢ÂÂre in town.