This is surely what rock ‘n’ roll dreams are made of. Band form in late 2003, secure a record deal, record a debut album and tour their arses off. In March 2006, after almost a year on the road, they’re playing their biggest ever show on the last date of their current tour in their adopted hometown of Birmingham.
With 2,700 fans egging them on and Radio 1 present to record the event, this was a truly momentous occasion for the band, and one that illustrates perfectly just how far they’ve come in a relatively short space of time. After this, it’s onwards and upwards to America, before they return to Blighty in May to finally see off their debut LP The Back Room. But just now, they were hell-bent on giving their local fans a show to remember.
And indeed, rather than let the occasion overwhelm them in any way, Editors more than rose to this challenge. This was a remarkably solid and assured 75 minutes on stage – front man Tom Smith is now actually talking to the crowd, the songs now come adorned with projected images behind them, and crucially, sound more immense and exciting than they’ve ever done.
Anyone expecting them to be handicapped in larger venues will have been spectacularly disappointed. Their powerful, dramatic and swooping sounds were quite clearly built for big rooms, and certainly, on the likes of Bullets and Munich, which have become nothing less show-stopping, mind warping classics, they would have had little problem reaching the back rows of an athletics stadium.
Essentially, this remained pretty much an album showcase, but acknowledging that the gig quite possibly warranted something a little bit extra, they threw in no less than five songs not on the record – two new songs and three B-sides, all of which sounded just as good as their more familiar counterparts.
Bones, one of the recently coined numbers, was something of a revelation. Characterised by the usual Editors trademarks – Ed Lay’s pulsating drumming, Russell Leetch’s heavy bass, Chris Urbanowicz’s cutting guitar and Smith’s unforgettable Curtis/Banks recalling baritone – it’s an impossibly urgent, frantic and potentially dance floor conquering piece which wholeheartedly refused to let the listener relax for a second.
What’s more, recent B-side, the heavier than normal Find Yourself A Safe Place, shone brightly mid set, unequivocally reassuring everyone in the room that these are four men with their eyes firmly set on the quality control button and also that the new record will almost certainly be as marvellous as the last.
Open Your Arms, one of The Back Room’s highlights, saw the band close their set with some furious guitar workouts, before they departed the stage to deafening cheers. Returning for an encore that culminated in the sustained barrage on the senses that is Fingers In The Factories, Smith delivered the final chorus with so much venom it was a truly gripping moment. Indeed, this is precisely what Editors offer live – passion, high drama and magnificent songs.
If you, or anyone, are still harbouring any ill-judged doubts, go and experience them in the flesh, for they will thrill you into submission and leave you in no doubt that they are in fact one of the best rock bands currently in business.