Review: Editors at O2 Guildhall, Southampton


Editors return to the O2 Guildhall with an impressive setlist covering albums old and new, and delivering an encore that delighted fans with the band's most iconic songs.

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It’s a chilly Sunday night, and as the clock strikes nearer to 7pm, crowds in their dozens begin to gather as they eagerly await the return of dark indie rockers, Editors, at Southampton’s very own O2 Guildhall. Often compared to the likes of bands such as Interpol, Joy Division, R.E.M. and Echo and the Bunnymen, Editors have experienced many successes throughout their career that spans six albums – two of which earning platinum studio album status. Their favourable critical acclaim and strong success in the charts has seen them wrack up several million combined album sales, and earned them several headlining slots across the UK’s major festivals.

I should admit now that I, myself, have had a rather tricky relationship with Editors: as one of my dad’s favourite bands, he not-so-subtly attempted to convert me to their music throughout my teens by playing their albums in the car every time he picked me up. At high school, I would slander the band’s name to my friends, declaring them possibly the most “depressing” band out there. (Sorry, Dad…) Yet now, at 21, I have come to appreciate the band’s chilling melodies and poignant lyrics, finding their music nothing short of an incredibly powerful listen.

As soon as we entered the venue, I realised I was one of the youngest people in my immediate field of vision by about two decades – although, on reflection, this observation may or may not be liable to some slight exaggeration. As my dad took us to the bar to purchase two exceedingly overpriced drinks – even with mine being a half-pint of a non-alcoholic beverage – I noticed that this gig gave off a slightly different vibe to what I was used to. Gone were the indie kids, huddled in their masses with space buns and glitter on their faces, and stood before me were lots of middle-aged adults, all stood ready and waiting for Editors to take centre stage, many of whom were already sporting Editors tour t-shirts from years before.

The night opened with support act, Talos. Their sound struck me as immediately reminiscent of the music of RY X, and took me back to the early music of Foals. It didn’t take long before I was completely captured as they made their way through their seemingly short set of 35/40 mins. The audience responded enthusiastically to their set, to which the band were very humbled by. Talos, although certainly different to Editors, were a wise choice to open the show – their music was the right balance between being slow, but also awe-inspiring. After bidding farewell to the audience and making an exit off stage, the lights came up which made for the perfect opportunity to quickly downloaded Talos’ album from Spotify onto my phone – yes, I really was sold.

Then, at 9pm, Editors hit the stage, opening with ‘The Boxer’, the first time which this has happened since 2010. Their melancholic indie rock translated well on stage, and as the band worked their way through their varied set, covering albums new and old, the band gave more and more to each song. That’s not to say there was a warm up period to their set, though, for the band seemed ready from the get go to excite their crowd.

Lead singer, Tom Smith, certainly delivered some choice moves in between his distinctive and powerful vocals. As someone who has been disappointed by numerous artists who, when performing live, appear disinterested and indifferent to their paying audience, I can say I’d much rather watch a performer like Smith. Dad dancing aside, his sheer passion for his music was immediately evident, which made his and his bandmates’ performance all the more entrancing. Perhaps slightly intoxicated, Smith began to introduce his fellow band members to the audience, but got as far as bassist Russell Leetch before get distracted, taking another sip of his beer, and returning to the mic to sing. In spite of this, there is certainly no denying that Smith makes an excellent front-man and is well-versed on how to put on a good show for fans. He sums it up best: “I know we make miserable music but we want you to have a good time.”

Their encore, in particular, was an impressive watch: while opening with ‘Cold’ from their latest album Violence (2017), the three remaining songs played following the brief interval saw the band return to their debut and second album. This was definitely a crowd-pleasing move, with the crowd being totally immersed as the band closed with tracks ‘The Racing Rats’, ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors’, and ‘Munich’.

As someone who never thought they’d self-declare that they are a fan of Editors, I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s show at the 02 Guildhall in the city centre. Their energy on stage and the powerful, deeply-stirring music for which they are renowned made for one hell of a live experience. I guess my dad was right after all – there is definitely an art and genius to their music, and Editors are definitely an act worth listening to and seeing should you get the opportunity to.

Check out their latest music video for ‘Magazine’ below and their other tour dates here!


About Author

I'm a regular gig-goer, partial to the music of ABBA, tunes of the 80s, and bands of the indie-rock persuasion. I am also a keen blogger and a strong advocate of the Robin and Barney pairing from HIMYM - forever willing to argue anyone who disagrees, and insists that Ted and Robin were the better couple.

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