I was extremely apprehensive coming to this gig. I have been a big fan of Editors since before they were even called by that name and every time I had seen them they had blown me away apart from once. I was one of the few that managed to get to see them the previous month at the o2 Academy in Birmingham and I actually left disappointed. I thought that they were very brave and also a little bit silly to do virtually a whole set of material that nobody had heard aside from the track “Papillon”. Not only that it really felt that the lead singer Tom didn’t want to be there at all, and although a man of few words he normally has a massive stage presence. The whole event left me feeling quite low even though I had been looking forward to it for months. So you can see my concerns…
On arrival to the Civic a band called Airship were on the stage. This band crafted some really elegant and enjoyable melodies. They kind of reminded me of an early “Editors” but mixed up with a bit of a shoegaze feel similar to “Mew”. They were an impressive start to the evening’s proceedings.
Next up were Canadian five-piece Wintersleep. Having heard an album sampler a while ago I was keen to see how they would deliver their music in a live setting. They created a nice blend of relaxing alt-country and alternative indie that had a little bit of an “REM” feel to it. They went down well and I even had a little boy power sliding and break-dancing by the side of me so that helped add to the atmosphere. The band had a good stage presence and created a powerful and enjoyable sound. They ended with a track that was an array of spectacular musical noise in which their drummer fascinated me (probably because I am a drummer myself).
When Wintersleep finished my apprehension grew stronger. I was actually nervous for Editors to deliver and take me out of the zone they left me in when I saw them earlier in the month. The good thing was that I had now heard the new material a lot and it was actually starting to really impress me. Yes it was very different from what they had put out in the past but there was something about it that was starting to take hold. But I was also hoping that there would be a lot of old tracks thrown in for good measure. The lights went out and the sell out crowd roared.
They opened with “In This Light and On This Evening” the opening track to the new album. In the background there was a huge LED backdrop that they used to full effect throughout all of the new songs. In articles the band have compared the new album to something similar to a soundtrack from an 80s Sci-Fi film, and the backdrop actually helped to enhance that feeling with the imagery of city landscapes (and other things that I couldn’t make out) that they put on it, there was something very “Blade Runner” about it.
The song ended with the crowd singing along to the synth sound. Tom exclaimed “Hey what’s going on!?” and the band launched into “Bullets” followed by a clear favourite “An End Has A Start” due to the amount of singing that took place. Both of these songs actually seemed to wake up the Wolverhampton crowd, they suddenly had energy for a Sunday evening, they were lifted and ready to go for it. At least the vast majority were anyway. To be honest the crowd was very mixed — they were definitely a more mature audience compared to a lot of the gigs that I go to and for some in there it was like they were sampling a fine wine rather than being at a concert of a band that they liked.
The band moved into another new track “You Don’t Know Love” and with that the LED screen really gave the track a different vibe, the song itself is quite chilled out and the screen really enhanced the track a lot — I was drawn in and completely captivated. It was followed up with band classic “Blood” which was a big winner. New track “Like Treasure” came next and it was starting to become fairly clear that their old material was having more of a positive impact with tonight’s audience. Don’t get me wrong the new material was going down well and certainly much better last month; but the Wolves crowd usually need to hear something thousands of times before they dance to it. Another thing that I noticed was the bands sense of urgency and energy when playing their older material and in particular the next few songs “Bones”, “The Racing Rats” and debut album track “Open Your Arms”.
Next up in my opinion has to be the best track on the new album “Raw Meat = Blood Drool”. And everything about it tonight was superb, with the LED backdrop again being used to full effect with “You Him Her” and “Self Health Her” coming up on it every time that Tom sung those words and when that track gets more known you can easily see more people singing along with him. Another new track followed this “The Big Exit” in which the intro really reminds me of Nine Inch Nails, in fact they even put up some white noise on the backdrop and that took me back to some of the NIN gigs that I had been to — it was brilliant!
We were then given an array of classics with “Lights” and “You Are Fading” which had a nice single spotlight on Tom before Ed kicked in with the pounding drum beat. It ended with bass player Russ getting the crowd to clap and was quickly followed up with “Camera” and “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors”. “Smokers” was probably one of the best tracks in terms of audience reaction in the main set, they were singing back Tom’s lyrics, and the whole venue was jumping and generally loving the song. They ended the main set with “Bricks and Mortar” in which Tom introduced both Russ and Chris during the intro. They changed the outro a little in the fact that Tom once again under a single spotlight, sang, “I hope life is good for you” a capella as the rest of the band left the stage.
As always the crowd demanded an encore, although I think that they started off a little bit subdued as if they were expecting one really. This eventually changed and a rupture of claps and foot stamps welcomed the band back onto stage. They started the encore with their penultimate new track of the night “Walk The Fleet Road” which was followed by what was quite easily the biggest cheer of the night for “Munich” and final new track “Papillon” which set the venue alight. The band ended with one of their classic tracks “Fingers in the Factories”.
Overall this was quite a strange gig really. At first I was really apprehensive but as the set moved on it became more evident that their new material, although different, was actually something fairly spectacular. They certainly carried it off live and the visuals they had added to the overall ambience. The classics that they played from their previous albums are fantastic indie pop songs that you can sing and dance to but the whole set just seemed to flow really well. The Wolverhampton crowd can be very difficult to please but I think that they left satisfied. Editors remain an exceptionally strong “local” band that can sell out large venues and who have the ability to captivate, motivate and thrill all at the same time.
In This Light and On This Evening
An End Has A Start
You Don’t Know Love
The Racing Rats
Open Your Arms
Raw Meat = Blood Drool
The Big Exit
You Are Fading
Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors
Bricks and Mortar
Walk The Fleet Road
Fingers in the Factories
Review – Imran Khan
Photos – Helen Williams