REVIEW: Editors @ HMV Institute, June 26th

Words by Cesilia Oriana Trecaquista & Holly Pyke

Picture by Maht

Birmingham’s HMV Institute was announced as the only UK stage Editors would play on this year, as well as showcasing the band’s fourth studio album.

With a second date added ‘due to overwhelming demand’, we awaited the return of the Midlands’ well known contemporary’s.

Local support came from Free School and Peace, two bands making their own noises in the city. But not even Peace’s pretentious dreamcatcher guitar mounts, or Free School’s unnecessary mask wearing (are they really so unattractive?), could take the focus from the headliners.

And with the recent departure of Editors’ lead guitarist, Chris Urbanowicz, an understandable mixture of excitement, intrigue and anxiety charged through the crowd.

By the end of the support acts, the HMV Institute’s main room was full to capacity. Then, with anticipation palpable in the air, a backlight floods the stage; revealing Editors in silhouette. The crowd explodes into applause.

Editors open with the new, and particularly unmemorable, track ‘Sugar’; lacking the distinctive riffs provided by Urbanowich on previous albums.  But shortly follow with ‘Bricks and Mortar’, a synth heavy track (bizarrely reminiscent of the Terminator theme tune) that brings the house down.

The gig continues, with Editors giving a superb performance of old and new. Well known tracks, such as ‘The Racing Rats’, ‘An End has a Start’ (the title track from their HUGELY popular 2007 album) and ‘Bullets’ – the band’s first ever single, provide a seemingly needed sense of security to the audience; whilst a well delivered introduction to album four remains at the heart of the set .

Playing flawlessly for well over an hour, Tom Smith‘s energetic bodily contortions (in the silhouette of the perfectly choreographed lighting) gives us a feast for the eyes, as well as the ears.

And, although personally not convinced it’s as catchy or iconic, Editors’ new material keeps the audience captivated every minute of the way. It’s an understandable risk to lose interest with newer songs, but apparently not tonight.

But bizarrely, for a band that’s just lost a key member, there was no reference to any changes in line up. And certainly no introduction of the two new bodies on stage; one on guitar, one on keyboard.

There was also no introduction to songs, even the new ones, which (despite making reporting the track listing a little more challenging) felt as though the gig was aimed at only die hard Editors fans. Whilst inside and out, stood a city full of interest and potential new listeners.

Whether self indulgent or simply good value for money, Editors end with a whopping four song encore; including ‘Munich’ and closing with ‘Papillion’. Also an announcement confirming the new album’s release in 2013 – prompting a standing ovation and reluctance to leave, from the crowd.

But despite the jumping bodies, failed crowd surfing, and sea of lit camera screens, there remains a sense of uncertainty surrounding the long term future of the band.

And it would be great to see Editors play again, soon, complete with new album and lineup. The only questions are when, where and ultimately, will we?

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