Live Review: Editors, Rock City (28/11/13)

The immensely popular and relatively successful Editors arrive at a sold-out Rock City for the final date of their UK tour, bringing the less popular, less successful but all-round better British Sea Power with them.

Now, ten years and four albums on, and Editors are no longer Britain’s great guitar hopes. Yes, 2005’s ‘dark disco’ debut, The Back Room, showed a certain degree of promise and even the epic follow-up, An End Has A Start, wasn’t all bad, but since then, Editors have shown themselves to be a below-par rock band who desperately want to sound like their 80s heroes; Joy Division, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen and REM to name but a few. When in reality, they come across as a wet combination of anthemic Snow Patrol mediocrity and cheesy Duran Duran pop. Harsh? Certainly not on tonight’s performance.

The crowd is predominantly made of middle-aged couples, or fathers bringing their adolescent sons to their first gig. These are people who crave their youth, who crave the year 1983, when British post-punk was at its finest. Therefore, it’s not an unimaginable step to see why the supposedly dark, brooding nature of Editors would attract such a crowd. However, this also begs the question: ‘why Editors?’. The last few years have seen a post-punk revival of sorts, with the likes of The Horrors, Savages and TOY all making music that simply towers above anything Editors could ever imagine. And no, Editors are not even a fun band; they take themselves (too) seriously, with lead singer Tom Smith theatrically attempting to convey the absent emotion in every song.

‘Munich’ and ‘Bullets’, both songs from the aforementioned debut, are the only two to stifle the yawns. Recent single ‘A Ton Of Love’ is the most hideous Bunnymen rip-off in music history, complete with ‘The Cutter’ guitar opening and Ian McCulloch vocal impersonation. ‘Formaldehyde’ sounds like The Killers fronted by Chris Martin and Bono: boring, self-absorbed nonsense. ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ is an epic, choir-backed anthem, bereft of any musical integrity. But credit where credit’s due; to peddle this kind of rubbish yet still manage to sell out large venues and sell records? Well, that’s an achievement, of sorts.

The only saving grace to the evening is British Sea Power‘s shockingly short, shockingly early and shockingly outstanding set. I really feel for British Sea Power; spending the best part of a month playing second fiddle to a band that aren’t even fit to change their guitar strings. However, regardless of what I say, Editors will keep plodding on, kidding people into thinking that this is real music. It isn’t.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to Fat White Family – ‘Auto Neutron’…

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2 Comments on this post.
  • Nick Marshall
    5 December 2013 at 00:02
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    Interesting review Alex, it seems there are 2 Rock Cities in Nottingham and 2 bands calling themselves the Editors. While I like the band I wouldn’t call myself their biggest fans by any means but thought the night was a triumph. Their last album, which I thought was only ok, sounds a million times better live and Smith proved an excellent frontman. Took a friend who had only heard their first album and he was similarly impressed. Guess it all about opinions and Alex you’re entitled to yours, you’re just wrong!

  • Alex Neely
    5 December 2013 at 11:37
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    Cheers for reading, Nick. Of course music is all about opinion. Similarly, the bands that I’d champion, you’d most likely criticise the way I did Editors. I’m not wrong though…

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