Sunday, March 12, 2006

Live Review - Editors - Manchester Academy 1 - 27 Feb 2006

When I look back on 2005, one of the best in recent years for producing excellent new bands both foreign and domestic, I can name a handful of talent that truly blew the world away and knocked the cobwebs off our musical taste buds.Twas the start of the current Monkey revolution for instance, the rise to global pop-gold status of the Kaiser Chiefs and for me personally it was a year in which the Arcade Fire held us in their own intoxicating, magical spell. The Editors, despite a critically acclaimed debut album, haven't quite captured the publics imagination in the same vein as their above mentioned peers and have managed somehow to stay below-radar. Don’t let this fool you. Sounding like a spirited cross breed of Interpol & Joy Division, these 4 Birmingham boys (Tom Smith, Chris Urbanowicz, Russell Leetch and Ed Lay) served up a rare piece of excellent pure-sounding dark rock in their debut album ‘The Back Room’ . It’s the kind of music that provides a different option than the seemingly endless list of post-Lib’s poo-going, disco friendly live bands of the now and its with this I go into the gig with a sense of intrigue. How will this band perform ? How will they come across on stage ? Will they connect ? I’m excited to not know for a change!

It seems I’m not the only one. The Academy is packed to the brim with music lovers of all ages and as the band take to the stage the 30+ fella stood next to me starts 'wooooing' like a crazy teenage girl who has just seen her latest pop idol. Moving swiftly away from this clearly insane chap I noticed the set up, nothing fancy, some dark lighting and four drapes of white cloth hanging meticulously around the corners of the stage. Having seen Kasabian come here with the entire set of the 'Golden Mile' lights from Blackpool as their stage set and Johnny Borrell's mother's home furniture for Razorlights this seemed, well, refreshingly simple. 'Welcome, this is called Lights' cries Tom, who it seems is as up for this as the crowd are in front of him, bouncing around his microphone like a much cooler Chris Martin, reaching out with his hands and performing with so much emotion and intensity, throwing his guitar around behind his head and to his chest as he sings.

The emotion spills out from him and into the crowd on ‘Fall’ as his resonant baritone informs us that “I wanted to see/ I wanted to see things for myself”. The effect that these songs have are staggering, a mixture of heart ache and tenderness that’s just so intoxicating and soul pummelling that you cant help but get drawn in. ‘Blood’ and ‘Munich’, songs which have been doing the rounds for about a year now still sound as fresh, Chris’s twinkling guitar riffs coupled with Ed Lay’s demonic Goth like rhythms demanding you listen, cries of “People are fragile things you should know by now/be careful what you put them through” from Tom pull at your heart strings and somehow manage to make sense as you dance like your attending some sort of rave in your local cemetery. ‘All Sparks’ and debut single ‘Bullets’ deal with everything from death to disease yet are somehow delivered on a wave of optimism and hope that even the hardest of men would crack under their emotional power. The final song of the night, ‘Fingers In The Factory’ has a chorus that will literally take your head and bash it from side to side until you understand.

This is a band that are destined for great things, its been a few years since I have witnessed pure soul rousing energy and songs performed in the simplest of ways with the minimum effect but with the ability to break your emotional barriers. I went into this gig with a high level of intrigue and maybe expecting just a good performance from a good band, I left feeling totally fulfilled and blown away. To put it in its simplest of terms….. This band need no gimmicks, no fancy stage show, no funny interactions with the crowd and certainly no reason for me to tell you how good they are live. Their music speaks volumes. Go see for yourself.

Words by Chad, Picture from t'Internet.

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