Editors + Victories at Sea + Swim Deep @ HMV Institute, Birmingham – 27th June 2012

I always seem to get a sense of anticipation when Editors do a “hometown” gig. They seem to up their game in front of the Birmingham crowd and tonight was no exception. This was the second of two (sold out) nights that were the only UK dates that they were playing this year. It was really nice to see that on both of these nights they decided to give some newer local talent an opportunity to showcase themselves in front of their fan base.

First up was Swim Deep a band whose Facebook page describes them as “Birmingham boys making sun kissed noise”. I always think that it is hard to be first band on, you never know what you are going to expect and cannot always be sure that the crowd will warm to your sound; but these Midlands newcomers made the most of it. They certainly impressed with a nice grunge tinged pop sound, and they were one of the best first bands on that I have seen for a while.

Next up was a band that I discovered thanks to the magic of Twitter — Victories at Sea. This band did more than impress; if you want to discover a band that could easily be a “next big thing” then they are definitely a band to look for. Their style lies somewhere between the electronic and math rock genres. You could liken them to Foals but to be honest they have their own unique and distinctive sound. Not only did the band capture the Editors fans they also hand crafted 200 unique CDs (featuring stand out track Future Gold) and gave them away at the end of the night. This band is definitely one to watch.

With the very recent departure of the bands lead guitarist Chris Urbanowicz I was curious to see how Editors would fair without him. Although the band is now technically a three piece they played with five members tonight and this crafted a truly epic sound that filled HMV Institute perfectly.

I am not sure if it is a sign of pretentiousness or if it is just being brave to open a set with a brand new track but that is exactly what the band did. Sugar had all the elements that you would expect from an Editors track with Tom’s lyrics like “there’s sugar in your soul” and “it breaks my heart to love you” left resonating in your ears as the song finished. The set as a whole was a good mix from the bands first three albums.

Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors saw some members of the crowd attempting to start some pogoing and a bit of a mosh pit and there was a sense of euphoria as “We’ve all been changed from what we were. Our broken hearts smashed on the floor” was being sung.

The band always seem to give the impression that they are still extremely humble and appreciative towards their fans, and it is clear that there is still a sense of humour present as well when Tom told the crowd that the next song was a “New song with an outrageous bass solo from Russell, and when he does it you’ve got to go mad” and it turned out to be debut album song All Sparks.

During Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool Tom drove an extremely emotive and expressive performance and there was generally a very strong and captivating presence from the whole band on the stage. It was actually really pleasant to see both Russel and Tom giving a ‘thumbs up’ to the crowd after a lot of the tracks they played tonight.

Once again for me the stand out track of the night was b-side You Are Fading that just has a sense of power and perfection when heard live as opposed to the recorded version. It was amusing however to see the crowd fail to keep in time with the clapping at the end of the song.

I believe that the sign of a great entertainer is one that can capture you and make you believe every word that they say. During The Weight of The World I felt that Tom did exactly that; to the point that there were shivers down my spine while he sang the lyrics “You touch my face. God whispers in my ears, In my year (ear). There are tears in my eyes. Love replaces fear.” And during Bricks and Mortar with the rendition of the lyrics “I hope life is good for you”

The main set ended as it had begun with new track Nothing that I think is destined to be the bands next single. As this followed on from Fingers in the Factories the crowd was really up for it and because of this and the distinctive vocal it felt like we had heard it before and was a bit of an instant classic.

I like an encore to start with a bang but it began with little known track No Sound But the Wind (which features on the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack and their 2011 collection of B-Sides and rarities You are Fading I-IV) and very few people knew it. Alongside some ‘must play’ tracks the encore also had new track Two Hearted Spider which I think could be a grower.

The band always put on a great performance at every gig that I have been to but tonight felt like something different — like a coming of age or even a rebirth. Tonight their sound and performance cannot actually be described in words; you had to be there. They ending the night with the brilliant and uplifting Papillon which seemed very fitting as Editors certainly found their “own way home” tonight.

Set List
The Racing Rats
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors
The Sting
All Sparks
Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
You Are Fading
The Weight of the World
Bricks & Mortar
An End Has A Start
Fingers in the Factories

No Sound But the Wind
In This Light and On This Evening
Two Hearted Spider

Review – Imran Khan

Photos – Steve Gerrard

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