Itâ€™s fair to say, going into tonightâ€™s gig, that I wasnâ€™t the biggest fan of Editors, but thankfully I had my better half with me who loves them. If nothing else, with the dreary grey skies and drizzling rain as we waited in Guildhall Square, surrounded by the regal Guildhall itself and the dreary concrete and glass of the civic offices, we were setting a perfect scene for the Birmingham bands tunes.
As we made our way into the venue, gawped at the 2-pint glasses of beer on offer and headed in to grab a spot, we bumped into the always busy Robin of Breaking More Waves (one of our favourite stop offs for discovering new bands) and compared notes.
All too soon the opening band, Call Upon The Author favourites The Strange Death of Liberal England took to the stage. Theyâ€™ve been on good form of late and touring alongside Editors has clearly prompted them to raise their game. They benefit from a superb sound engineer too and every instrument and vocal is clear and precise, while the tunes from their forthcoming album send listeners straight to their merch table to pick up CDs.
After stopping just long enough to grab one of the aforementioned double pints full of cider (it made me feel like Iâ€™d shrunk), Fujiya and Miyagi take the stage. Sadly their set doesnâ€™t seem to grab the audience too tightly and their mix of bassy music, monotone vocals and songs about ice cream flavours and shades of blue leave this listener, and others I spoke to, rather disappointed. Itâ€™s not that theyâ€™re bad, so much as that their live act is somewhat lacklustre.
Editors finally take to the stage and, compared to when we saw them last, at the end of last year in Southampton, this is like watching a different band. Clearly the guys themselves are more energised, but the superior acoustics and sound equipment of this venue really help to bring the band to life! Before the music blurred into one, but here each song stakes itâ€™s own claim. Frontman Tom Smith is clearly in good spirits as he reminisces about being in Portsmouth five years ago and being caught up in the Rock&Roll merry-go-round to the degree that he strode out on stage and declared â€œGood Evening Norwich!â€. Thankfully, tonight he knows exactly where he is, and we are treated to the full range of his vocals, from the infamous brooding deep baritone to a soaring tenor. Nowhere is he better than on the haunting Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors.
Around me everyone seems caught up in a mesmeric set and swept along for the ride. When the band launch into Papillon I find my toe tapping involuntarily and itâ€™s only then that I realise that, despite my reservations about their last album, Iâ€™ve become a convert to Editors impressive live performance!