Sunday, 6 February 2011

783 EDITORS, Coldcave, Cardiff University, Sunday 21 March 2010

Barely 5 months after my last Editors "live" experience, they're doing the rounds again, this time pitching up in towns omitted from their October 2009 tour itinerary. Thus it was that I headed down to Cardiff on my own on a Sunday evening, this being the nearest this tour passed to Swindon, but still too far away for Rach to join me!

A dodgy journey down, including roadworks virtually the whole length of the M4 in Wales and a weird - pitch black! - motorway exit, nevertheless saw me parking up at 8 in the boulevard behind the Uni, wandering around this labyrinthine venue to the hall, unfortunately just in time to catch all of support Coldcave's set. They were terrible; a depressing synth-based mob whose ideas seemed to stem from a rummage through OMD's dustbins, then swathed in unnecessary white noise. One passable number, which recalled Depeche Mode, was lost in the slew of morose dullness.

Took a good central viewing spot about 3/4 back in this wide venue, behind a couple of amiable young ladies, for Editors entrance, dead on my predicted 9.15. Straight into the pulsing sheet metal synth of "In This Light And On This Evening", the opener and title track to their fascinating recent album, which by introducing the synth dynamic to their dark, brooding little post-punk rockist epics, has augmented and advanced their sound bravely and notably. That said, this rendition was disappointingly thin, lacking the power and strident oomph of the album version, as did the subsequent "Lights". By third number, the itchy, insistent "An End Has A Start", however, the set started taking off, and by the reconstructed Krautrock "Camera" and purposeful, jerky "Blood", they were in full flight, vocalist Tom Smith's deliciously dark baritone issuing forth his occasionally preposterous lyrics and supplementing a kinetic frontman performance. After an anthemic "Racing Rats" which really set the place rocking, a dark, urgent "Munich" set the table for a final "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors", the zenith of their canon of work, which was probably the best number I've seen them play, finally sounding as good as it's always sounded in my head, the whirling maelstrom denouement soaring, epic and glorious, closing the set majestically.

They could have left it there for me, but, after a solo piano number from Tom, a thrilling final triumvirate of the none-more-Europop "Bricks And Mortar", the robotic synth of "Papillion", which sent shards of jagged sound around the hall, and strident closer "Factories", all had me rocking out frantically to the best British band currently making music. I appreciate given the paucity of the opposition, this is damning them with faint praise, but hey, you can only compete with who's around, and for me, in this light and on this evening Editors would be absolute top-liners in any age!

A nightmare journey back too, which involved puzzling and circuitous diversions, traffic queues and 30mph roadworks on the M4 at the dead of night. But thankfully Editors were well worth the (considerable) hassle!

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