Editors - Colston Hall, Bristol
Despite a huge fire on Colston Street during the day, apparently caused by a student and their careless approach to cooking, Editors returned to Bristol on the back of their fifth album. And demonstrating the continuing growth of the fanbase they’ve moved into Colston Hall from their previous show at the O2 Academy.
Before Tom Smith’s lot take the stage though there’s the small matter of Twilight Sad and tunes from their critically acclaimed Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave. Complete with frontman James Graham’s freaky Twin Peaks-ish headshaking the Glasgow trio rock Colston Hall to its foundations. Their haunted, intense, rock is reminiscent of the night's headliners. Only louder.
Once Editors take to the stage though - one by one, building the sound of opener ‘No Harm’ - their show is polished and sticks to their well-honed formula: bassist Russell Leetch is still the most energetic bass player on the scene, Elliott Williams the keyboarding cheerleader at the back, and Tom Smith is a dark haired Chris Martin, all nervous energy and theatrics; better at singing though.
Their fifth album, In Dream, along with 2009’s In This Light And On This Day, has given the quintet two definitive sounds that at times clash in the live environment. On the one hand you have the atmospheric electronics of new songs: ‘Life Is A Fear’, the Commundards-esque ‘Our Love’ where Smith channels Jimmy Somerville and ‘Smalltown Boy’, ‘Ocean Of Night’; and In This Light…’s ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’, and Joy Division-a-like ‘Bricks and Mortar’. On the other extreme are the anthemic guitar rock stormers: the bass riff heavy ‘Sugar’, the sheer thrill of ‘The Racing Rats’, four guitar burst of ‘An End Has A Start’, and the very epitome of the band, ‘Formaldehyde’.
It’s not a jarring shift in tone but a noticeable one, especially when the band transition into “new song mode” with lead string strummer Justin Lockey regularly hanging around with hands on hips. Smith’s solo acoustic section, dedicating ‘All Sparks’ to the earlier street fire, and ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ showing its wonder in stripped down form, gives some levity to the show and a well judged change of pace.
Unsurprisingly new track ‘Ocean Of Night’ is a great partner to the stunning ‘Papillon’ in the encore leaving the atmosphere as red hot at the student accommodation roofs earlier in the day. All sparks indeed.