There’s not much out there that *feels* like the energy at an Editors gig. It’s the mood they create. As the chorus transitions into the bridge of Magazine, and the deep bass hits me deep in the gut, and the stupid grin spreads across my face as my body involuntarily moves to the beat, I can’t believe that these guys aren’t given their dues.
Editors are that band that you think you might know, vaguely, from back in the day. At least, that’s the impression I get whenever I gush about them, or tell someone how excited I am they’re on a festival line-up, or just generally suggest their ouvre to a fellow music-lover. They’ve had arguably a handful of hits – Munich and Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors probably being the ones you’ll remember from indie radio – but their name usually brings just a flicker of recognition. In the early days they were part Joy Division, part Parachutes-era Coldplay, swept up in the rush of mainstream indie success of the mid-noughties. Then it seemed they stagnated, or disappeared.
At least, that’s the impression I get. They never left my heart, and it’s likely they never left the heart of the thousands that gathered at Wembley Arena on a cold and wet February evening for the tour supporting Black Gold, the greatest hits/best of offering. And seriously, if you’re vaguely interested in acts like Echo and the Bunnymen or Interpol, jump on Spotify and give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
Editors keep it simple live. The stage is dark, matching their all-black clothing and melancholic music. They walk out to the opening hum of No Harm before jumping into hit after hit after hit. The lighting rig above them tilts and turns to bring different illuminations for every song, and the lights pulse from red to black to white, from blue to pink, punctuating each drum break or keyline. Tom Smith’s deep, mournful voice is the key ingredient, leading his bandmates from moody intro to soaring chorus to full-on explosion. He’s not much of a banterific frontman, but he twists and lurches across the stage as if possessed by the power of the music.
This Wembley show was the umpteenth time I’ve seen Editors – honestly, I’ve lost count; there was a period where I want to literally every gig they did in London – and it’s probably the most powerful I’ve seen them. The back catalogue is super strong, laden with favourites, with the slower-paced sitting seamlessly alongside their big anthems. Old album tracks like Fingers in the Factories get an airing, and new track Frankenstein gets the crowd jumping early.
And as that crowd raises arms in the arm, chanting the “woah-oh-oh-oh” of Violence or “it kicks like a sleep twitch” for Papillon, the stupid grin seems like it won’t leave my face. I’m in my element here – there’s not many bands that will have me trekking to Wembley these days – and time slows down. As they come out for the encore, Tom thanks us for sticking with them and enjoying their “moody music”; but really, the pleasure is all ours.