Currently nearing the end of their highly anticipated European Tour, British band Editors took over Southampton Guildhall with an unsurprisingly charismatic and energetic performance. With a capacity of around 1700 and with some great characteristics – high ceilings, and neo-classical yet simplistic décor – the guildhall was a perfect venue for the guys, having performed in the likes of Brixton Academy in 2010.
First on stage was British Sea Power. After their opening track ‘Remember Me’, a 2001 single, it was clear that the band were off to a good start. Their personality shone through as they made themselves comfortable on stage: personalising it with the Christmas-esque lighting and trees; Abi Fry playing the viola bare-foot; Jan Scott Wilkinson drinking out of a paper cup; and not to mention, the pretty weird appearance of a polar bear on stage, described as being a “minor hit” lately. However entertaining, it was quite an odd experience, as the Wilkinson brothers performed a bit of a circus act, with tricks with the guitar and headstands with the polar bear. Apparently, it’s their thing.
Following this interesting performance from the support act, Editors were introduced to the stage with the instrumental of their title track ‘The Weight’, soon leading into ‘Sugar’ – which we’re all hoping is the next single. From this first song it was evident that Editors were having a blast, with Smith authorising the stage, declaring in his classic sombre tone ‘it breaks my heart to love you’.
Only a few songs in, and fans, well aware of Smith’s on-stage antics, are pleased to see the lead singer exert his presence on stage, as he climbs onto the piano during ‘Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool’. Eight songs in and Smith claims ‘Okay, I think we’re warmed up’ as the slightly more pop-y ‘Formaldehyde’ and ‘A Ton of Love’ follow, clearly two of the most well-known songs within the crowd.
Standout moments were near the end of the show, closing the set with ‘The Racing Rats’ and the latest single ‘Honesty’. With its upbeat tempo, catchy melody, and some of Editors’ best lyrics, ‘The Racing Rats’ was a great track to get the audience moving, reminding us of their raw An End Has a Start sound. With its poignant strings and slower tempo, ‘Honesty’ was definitely a good choice for the final track.
However, only having to wait a mere few minutes, Editors returned for the encore, kicking it off with ‘Bricks and Mortar’, a bit of a surprise to be honest, as they don’t tend to play this one live. It worked quite well though, as Smith mixed it up a bit singing ‘I hope life is good for you Southampton’ in the track’s melody. Possibly a bit cheesy, but it was worth a shot.
Next came the string-laden ‘Nothing’. It began amazingly as Smith sang in that captivating crooning voice of his, ‘sparks from your stare, cascade into mine, started a war’. Unfortunately, it soon became a major disappointment as the rest of the band joined in to perform the remainder of ‘Nothing’ as an upbeat rendition – it was completely unnecessary, and such a shame.
However, the band brought it back with ‘Papillon’, a major hit single from In This Light And On This Evening. Always extending this song at gigs, repeating ‘it kicks like a sleep twitch’, and ending quite abruptly, the band knew this was the one to finish with.
It was clear, standing very near the front, practically making eye contact with Smith, that the audience’s reactions just weren’t what the band were expecting. Although Editors’ fans tend to be quite relaxed, usually there are still some mosh-pit style actions. The band was really trying its best to get the audience involved, and they don’t usually have to try very hard. Maybe the crowd was just too hard to please. However, there was the odd obvious fan giving it their all.