The Marble Factory, Bristol ★★★★★
IT’S hard to believe that 13 years have passed since Editors released their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, The Back Room.
And perhaps that’s because their dark, synth-laden alt-rock is as much in vogue now as it was then.
Their sixth album, Violence, was released to acclaim in March before a summer of gigging saw them support The Cure and take top billing over the likes of Kraftwerk and The National.
Always a hugely engaging live presence, the Birmingham five-piece have upped their game — pouring heart, soul and sweat into a powerful set of new and old songs.
Kitted out in regulation black, they produced a performance full of drama and emotion — with frontman Tom Smith a restless, pent-up ball of energy, theatrical tics and exaggerated shapes throughout the show.
Their music still has traces of that whole Bunnymen/Joy Division/Depeche thing (some cracking Dave Gahan-style posturing from Smith, too).
But with the newer material sounding much more expansive and assured — stadiums surely beckon — there’s a real sense of next-level progression. From the euphoric, Muse-like assault of Hallelujah (So Low), to the anthemic swagger of Magazine and the majestic slow-burn of Belong, Editors seem much more confident in their own skin.
And Smith’s commanding baritone, ranging from introspective croon to soaring, all-out battle cry, has never sounded better.
But it was the incendiary bangers of old that sealed a truly blistering show.
Debut single Bullets sparkled with jagged rat-a-tat riffology, and the room properly erupted to the rousing, punch-the-air synths of Papillon. ‘Good to see you, Bristol,’ said Smith at the end, looking understandably spent. The feeling is more than mutual, sir.