Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Sat 9 Nov
Who knew that indie could still command such large audiences? Editors, who I’d always had down as a bit of a bronze medal band, overshadowed by other early-00s outfits like Franz Ferdinand and Razorlight, sold out (or thereabouts) the Student Union’s Great Hall last Friday. But after seeing the band in action, such a feat doesn’t seem that surprising. Editors have been going for over a decade now (nuts, I know!), and they’re as comfortable on stage, and tight as a band, as you’d expect such an established act to be.
Singer Tom Smith’s sonorous Ian Curtis-esque vocals proved easily powerful enough to break away from the rest of the group – no easy thing when you’re competing for valuable mid-range space – coming though clear and lucid. Similarly, the other members each played their respective parts well: guitarist Justin Lockey sulked moodily over his telecaster like an indie pro; bassist Russell Leetch held the bass down solidly with an appropriately stern head nod. The only trouble was that, at times, it seemed like that was all they were doing: playing parts. It was all to easy to imagine Smith shouting, “let me hear you, Reading,” “hands up, Glasgow,” or whatever the previous night. Even his juddery dancing, even (gasp!) his climbing onto the piano, seemed ever so slightly perfunctory.
But maybe I’m just a jealous gig-goer. The real diehards, probably less concerned about the fidelity of Smith’s shout-outs, more concerned about the music, seemed to love it. Crowd pleasers Munich, All Sparks and Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors got the audience moving (really moving in some cases – I’m looking at you drunken jumpy guy…), and it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. All in all, my impression of Editors has gone from slightly dismissive to positively ambivalent. But then again, I’m not a fan of indie in general. If I were, I can imagine that Editors’ gig last Saturday was nothing short of brilliant.
words PETER MARSHALL