Editors @ O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Editors @ O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK, February 29th, 2020

Mar 04, 2020 Editors Photography by Adam Houghton Bookmark and Share

With almost two decades and six studio albums behind them, Editors have earned the right to a greatest hits tour more than many of their early noughties founding contemporaries. Fashions and scenes may have been and gone, yet Editors are still here. Avoiding the pigeonholing that goes with rigorously sticking to one genre, which undoubtedly explains the key to their longevity. Dalliances with electronics, ambient textures and occasional forays into industrial territories make them a confounding yet uncompromising outfit whose most recent works highlight a passion to experiment rather than tow the more commercially astute party line.

Which is not to say Editors’ commercial success is to be baulked at either, as tonight’s long sold out show at Manchester’s O2 Apollo ably demonstrates. However, it wouldn’t be amiss to say Editors popularity in the UK peaked with second album An End Has A Start over a decade ago. Whereas in many parts of mainland Europe - the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in particular - they’re still considered something of a phenomenon. Regularly selling out arenas and football stadiums while also headlining some of the largest festivals on the continent. Editors’ fanbase overseas has embraced each step of their musical journey culminating in 2018’s excellent sixth LP Violence, which arguably ranks as their finest collection to date.

So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the UK leg of this tour to commemorate last year’s Black Gold ‘Best Of’ collection relies heavily on material from the aforementioned An End Has A Start and its predecessor, The Back Room. Exactly half of tonight’s planned setlist to be precise (“Distance” is dropped from the encore due to time constraints) and while it’s always a pleasure to hear the likes of “Fingers In The Factories” and “Escape The Nest” make welcome returns to the live fold, its the band’s development from angst ridden post punks to industrial experimentalists that’s most gratifying.

Splitting each part of the set up into different segments works wonders. So while an opening salvo of “An End Has A Start” into “Bullets” then “Bones” has the crowd on its feet and dancing right from the off, the more introspective likes of “Magazine” and “Sugar” show an altogether different side to the band’s make up. Tom Smith flitting between guitar slinging frontman and exquisite pianist with consummate ease. Flanked by bassist and fellow Editors founder Russell Leetch alongside drummer Ed Lay, who joined a year after the band’s formation. While more recent arrivals Justin Lockey (guitar) and Elliott Williams (keyboards) have added a new dimension to the band’s sound and make up, not least on the band’s last two long players (2015’s In Dream and the aforementioned Violence respectively).

Whether playing a song like “Papillion” - the nearest thing towards a bonafide club banger Editors have in their locker - with its inimitable refrain of “It kicks like sleep twitch!” eliciting 3000 people to go apeshit or the mercurial strains of “Weight Of The World”, delivered acoustically by Smith on piano this evening. Editors are a band that still demand your attention. Eighteen years and counting into a career that’s had more ups than downs, they’re as relevant today as when that first demo from the band previously known as Snowblind dropped unsuspectingly on numerous doormats up and down the land.

Closing their set with a run through three of their biggest hit singles before a triumphant “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” signals the grand finale. Tonight feels like a celebration of sorts but one that owes as much to the future - recent compositions “Upside Down” and “Frankenstein” stand out immeasurably among the hits - as it does the past and present. Here’s to the next instalment!


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