All photos by James Arnold exclusively for Faux.
Editors are a band with something to prove. With their latest two records, the little too safe, radio-friendly An End Has A Start and the love-it-or-hate-it synth-driven In This Light and on This Evening, the growing complaint has emerged that they lack real substance, that their darkness is more White Lies than Joy Division, more goth-indie posturing than any genuine depression. From the very moment they step onstage tonight though, their sense of confidence and determination to prove their detractors wrong is tangible. The mood has already been set by Manhattan’s Cold Cave, who open affairs with their gloomy electro-pop. The nuanced genius of ‘Life Magazine’, with backing vocalist Jennifer Clavin’s performance so tender it seems almost angelic drowned in layers of synths, stands out as the jewel in Cold Cave’s crown.
Editors themselves begin with In This Light and on This Evening’s title track, setting events in motion with understated synths and vocalist Tom Smith’s baritone so powerful it would be at home echoing through crumbling canyons, before plunging into an energetic flurry of guitar and whirling 80’s sci-fi style electro, and Smith’s trademark frantic and enthusiastic performance. Predictably it is the hits of their debut which draw some of the strongest reactions from the crowd, the choruses of ‘Munich’, ‘Bullets’ and ‘Blood’ take off into the rafters and the introspective ‘Camera’ is nothing short of majestic.
But there is a notable, and perhaps fortunate, absence of material from An End Has A Start, save for the obligatory singles, which of course are chanted back at the stage with such energy the venue itself seems to come alive. Despite their unbreakable melodies though it almost feels as if these tracks are holding Editors back, keeping them in territory that is simply too safe to be interesting. But, to their credit, these sometimes awkwardly clichéd tunes are carried off convincingly.
Piano ballad ‘No Sound But The Wind’ doesn’t really connect with the crowd, and serves as little but a relatively lifeless interlude for the encore, but the evening ends strong with the likes of ‘Papillon’ and fan favourite ‘Fingers In The Factories’. But it is when things take a turn for the more experimental, with ‘Bricks and Mortar’ and three-hit combo ‘A Life as a Ghost’ and it’s chilled-out apocalyptic groove, ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’s jaunty electro and off-kilter ballad ‘The Boxer’ that Editors become magnificent, offering a tantalising glimpse of what they may yet achieve.
At the very least, tonight Editors have unarguably proved their potential. There is undoubtedly a first class band inside them somewhere, they just need a first class album to set it free. But for tonight, to their fans, Editors have proved that they can rise above the critics and soar as one of the finest live bands that today has to offer.