Posted by Victoria Holdsworth.
Reviewed on 30th May 2006.
Live at Millennium Square on Friday, 19th May 2006
First up, playing to a half empty square, are The Motorettes. These Geordie guys aren't half bad really, even though they fit the mould of typical indie rockers. Although the first tune passed me by, they made up for it with the second tune of 'Go Go Gadget Girl' and bounced their way into my musical affections with a snapping drum line and dirty guitar chug. It was by far the best tune of the set. 'Relax It's The 80s' is slightly meatier and sounded a bit like a metal version of the record breakers theme tune. These lads obviously have a sense of humour, as they belted out a Bruce Springsteen cover of 'I'm On Fire' before ending their set with their new single 'You Gotta look The Parts'.
The Motorettes are punchy, catchy and likeable and they have all the ingredients to make it in the niche of indie/rock boy bands. If I could make any comparison, it would be that they're a bit like the Lost Prophets' kid brothers who have formed a band.
Then we get to ”Forward, Russia! - what more can be said about one of Leeds' finest? - not much really! As usual a rousing set, albeit hampered by members of the group getting electrocuted by the mic. You shouldn't laugh really, no really! Although it did provide some sadistic entertainment. ”Forward, Russia! have it all: the thrashing tunes, the energy and stage presence and best of all a girl in the line up - Yey! - worth the £22 ticket price alone.
After queuing for EVER, to get stupid beer tokens, the time between bands passed pretty quickly and the next band on the bill that evening were Biffy Clyro.
I was really excited to see Biffy Clyro. It had been a while since I first clapped eyes and ears on this three-piece from Scotland. ”Forward, Russia! had certainly got the crowd going, but BC pushed the bar to a new level. They have an effortless energy which surges through every tune be it fast or slow. They truly are genius with their brutal guitar riffs and scratchy dance beats intermingled with delectable sweet melodies. They deserve more from the UK scene and show a musical maturity that many other bands lack.
Biffy = Aceness = More Biffy!
I must admit the stage changes after BC seemed to take forever, and it wasn't just me imagining it - after what seemed like an eternity we get to the main act of the night. A band I have admired for quite some time but I needed to know if Editors could really cut it as well for me live.
After a pointless piece of gaudy intro music which seemed to clash with the first tune of their set 'Someone Says' it starts off a little like the weather that evening, a bit damp. You can chalk this up to nerves possibly. I had hoped they would come out fighting after such a build up of great bands. Tom Smith, the Editors' front-man seemed to be flailing around erratically, possibly the nerves I just mentioned - or was it a wasp? Or had he copped for the dodgy mic ”Forward, Russia! had?
The second song of the set is 'All Sparks' and it is performed with such a haunting rendition. It is a rare thing to see a band at such an early stage in their career that can easily emerge into stadium league without all the trappings that go with it, but I am pretty confident that's what I'm watching. The crowd are already ecstatic and what originally seemed like an intimate band could rightfully conquer the world.
The boys treated us to one of their new tunes, 'Bones' which sees Tom Smith have the stage presence of Jarvis Cocker, there is twirling and windmill arms aplenty! They follow this with a quivering, beautiful performance of 'Fall' and if you really appreciate live music, it was a head and heart jarring performance they provided. I wasn't really sure about Tom Smith's voice until now, but I was completely blown away!
Another new song follows in quick succession, you will be lucky to hear more than two or three words between songs, no introductions hardly, no self promotion. (Is that a good thing or a bad thing when you're being entertained?) And the next new nugget of audio 'Weight Of The World' brings out a bit of the Chris Martin persona in Tom Smith.
This was a day when it had threatened to rain constantly, which is never good at an open air gig, but this second new track being played definitely had a commanding arrival on the first strikes of the first chords which felt like the heavens would open at any moment and drown you, although I'm glad it was the music and not water that was engulfing everyone. 'Weight Of The World' is one of the most atmospheric tunes I have ever heard.
Yet more twirling and throwing of bodies around, to one of the best tracks on the album, 'Bullets' which was followed by an expertly chugged out version of 'Find Yourself A Safe Place'.
After such an assault of endless energy, the lads slowed it down with a moody and languid musical masterpiece of 'Release'. This gave some members of their audience a chance to have a bit of a crowd surf whilst the others just looked on spell bound, including myself. The performance was intricately laced with tones of the Velvet Underground.
'Camera' from the album played live is so lyrically stunning, even more so than listening to this great song on even the highest tech mp3 player, with its push and driving crescendos and the bass ripping into your guts.
'You Are Fading' really showed off some of the lads' musical prowess with some funky drumming from Ed Lay and some striding bass work from Russell Leetch. I'm a tad worried about Tom Smith's guitar hugging, ala Linus from the Snoopy cartoon style, he holds it that high and tight I fear he may get something caught in his strings - bless!
The boys then take a break and Tom momentarily talks to the crowd. Apparently they only had their gear returned to them 5 minutes before they were due on stage, after there was a 'mix up' in Germany at the airport, where they had flown in from today. However, the Germans returned the items as promised and they haven't held a grudge, they're just happy to be playing for us, and they launch full on in to 'Munich' - the crowd seem to have been waiting for this all night and heartily participate in a true panto style of sing a long. Tom Smith has a beautiful brooding quality to his voice which reminds me of Andrew Eldridge, quite simply stunning!
The next tune 'Open Your arms' has The Smiths written all over it, and it makes such a refreshing change to see a band call upon their musical influences, without blatantly ripping them off. I think you can safely say Editors are now a recognised brand in their own right. They gave the crowd a little bit more with 'Lights' then a cover version of Talking Heads 'Road To Nowhere' which was actually more audible than the original.
They finish the night off, which seemed to be joyfully never ending, with 'Finger In Factories' which ends the set on a very high note, and while the rain still holds off and people jostle back through the city centre, I can honestly say it's one of the best gigs I've seen in a long time.
Editors - does exactly what it says on the tin.
prog dance post punk