Since the departure of Chris Urbanowicz in 2012, Editors have emerged as an altogether more meaty version of themselves. They’ve added two extra musicians to the line-up, Justin Lockey and Elliot Williams on lead guitar and synth/keys/guitars respectively – that Urbanowicz played both of these instruments himself clearly explains this new audible girth – but the rest of the band have perhaps benefited from the new lack of air between instruments. The sometimes awkward switches that come from a pivotal band member changing from strings to keys and back have gone and in Dublin tonight there is a continuity and cohesion from the band that previously was conspicuous by its absence.
Editors have always been a great live act, owing predominantly to their back catalogue of anthemic crackers but that is not to diminish the impact of their musicality. They are phenomenal musicians, let’s not forget. But now, on this tour, they are sounding better than ever. There are no more miniscule fluctuations in their song’s trajectory from performer to listener, and as they tear through their set they seem, for once, to be having fun doing it. The moody lurching from Tom Smith has been replaced by a kind of dancing… kind of. More than once he draws in his elbows and plays air-piano, a sort of Franky from the Groovie Goolies-style dancing that several members of the audience are having great craic with. And the previously shadowy figure of bassist Russell Leetch has a permanent smile on his face.
But the set is a remarkable showcase for their as-of-yet completely unplanned greatest hits (only ‘Bones’, ‘Spiders’ and ‘The Boxer’ are missing). The overwhelming majority of the songs being played here have either been chart successes or are as familiar to the crowd as the national anthem. And it is as if each song raises the pulses of at least one pocket of fans right across the floor.
Opening with ‘Sugar’, from this year’s The Weight Of Your Love, the stampeding bassline is enough to loosen the fillings in your teeth and ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’, possibly Editors’ worst song, takes away some of the fizz put into the atmosphere by ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Door’ and is the only tangible lowlight on the night. New single ‘A Ton of Love’, which, it must be said, is so close to being a U2 song that Bono and the lads will probably still go ahead and write it in a year’s time, is swiftly followed by ‘An End Has A Start’ without so much as a skipped beat. The chorus’ refrain “you came on your own, that’s how you’ll leave’ encourages so much rhythmic finger pointing from the crowd that the band must feel like they are on trial. ‘Munich’, ‘Racing Rats’ and the ever glorious ‘Papillon’ are without doubt the standout tracks of the night.
So, tonight is about mixing old with new. This is true in terms of personnel, songs, performance and response. New band members, new songs, old band members, old songs, one or two mixed responses from the crowd to go along with the old-style reverence usually only displayed between 30-odd year old males and their musical heroes of choice. This new Editors line-up and its resultant sound definitely provides more peaks throughout the gig and this is definitely a positive. Even if it highlights the lowlights, so to speak, anything is better than same-old-same-old familiarity.
Editors photographed for State by Isabel Thomas.