Some things mature and improve with age. Fine wine is one and Editors are another. While not exactly veterans as such – they’ve managed to outstay most of their peers from the class of 2005 when the band’s music first started to make an impact.
Of course the 2018 version is very different from the Editors that stood before us thirteen years ago. Personnel have come and gone while the band’s sound has changed intrinsically to the point where their music has travelled beyond definition or specific genre categorisation. While that’s undoubtedly one of the facets behind their longevity - and most recent long player Violence marks yet another distinctive reinvention. Their unrelenting commitment to playing live and touring is another, particularly on the continent where Editors remain one of the UK’s biggest musical exports.
Nevertheless, they’ve amassed a loyal fanbase on more familiar territories too as tonight’s long sold out show at Nottingham’s 2100 capacity Rock City ably demonstrates. Indeed the band holds something of an affinity with the city having played all of its key venues over the past decade or so. While their shows at Stealth, the Bodega and Arena with We Are Scientists, ¡Forward, Russia! and The Rakes respectively in 2005 still retain a degree of kudos among those fortunate enough to be there, it’s the band’s subsequent progression we’re here to celebrate this evening and at no point do they disappoint.
So for the next hour and forty-five minutes, the five-piece play a mammoth, career spanning 22 song set that highlights why they’re well on their way to becoming national treasures. Although frontman Tom Smith remains a focal point of the band and rightly so, the addition of multi-instrumentalists Justin Lockey on guitar and Elliott Williams on keyboards has provided the perfect balance to compliment long standing rhythm section Russell Leetch and Ed Lay. Which means older songs like ‘Fall’ and ‘All Sparks’ off the band’s debut ‘The Back Room’ take on a new lease of life. While newer compositions such as ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ and ‘Nothingness’ off the aforementioned ‘Violence’ sit comfortably beside them.
With such a varied back catalogue to choose from, it provides an opportunity for the band to show off the diverse nature of their music as well as throw in a few rarities from past endeavours. Opening with ‘The Boxer’ from 2009’s In This Light And On This Evening might be seen as bold move by some, but its delicate tones flow naturally into ‘Sugar’, an understated highlight from ‘The Weight Of Your Love’, the album that signalled the band’s reinvention four years later.
It’s this fervour to fuse the past with the present which makes Editors live such an enthralling experience. ‘Someone Says’ still sounds as glorious in this setting as the demo version that preceded their debut single did back at the tail end of 2004. While debut 45 ‘Bullets’ also doesn’t sound out of place sandwiched between the more recent, epic strains of ‘No Harm’ and ‘Ocean Of Night’. That they still find time to omit some of their biggest and best known songs (‘Lights’ and ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’ being two that spring to mind) speaks volumes for the material at their disposal, and when Smith and co return for a four-song encore they needn’t worry about what to play.
Editors. A band still very much in their prime.