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WPGM Review: Editors Live At O2 Guildhall Southampton (In Pictures)

Sunday 3rd March saw platinum-selling English band Editors grace the grand setting of the O2 Guildhall in Southampton, as part of their ongoing European tour.

Their indie styled back catalogue, filled with award-winning and nominated hits, went down an absolute storm with a packed south-coast crowd… but first-up was support act Wings of Desire.

Their stylistic and retrospective musings were a great opener for the evening, performed by a duo who take inspiration from all aspects of art and life, and have effectively communicated that through multiple post-pandemic releases (as well as their own eclectic website).

Their short set covered most of these aforementioned releases, and was kicked off with the track “Runnin”, a relatively upbeat tune which builds to a lovely rocky peak, and wouldn’t feel out of place in a 2000’s era romantic film. “Chose Life” was up next, a more angsty anthem with real-life themes I’m sure resonate with swaths of society, including the Guildhall crowd in attendance.

The duo then moved through multiple tracks, from the spoken word confidence boost of “Be Here Now”, the toe-tapping “A Gun In Every Home”, and wrapping up with reflective “001”, covering the complexities of life in all its aspects. Overall a great set from a newly formed band sure to get even more attention in 2024.

Then onto the main event, two-time NME ‘Best British Band’ winners Editors. With a track list littered by hits and quality music, I’ll cover the highlights of the night, however I implore you to delve deeper into their back-catalogue (further than their Spotify top five), as there are some absolute gems to be found in the detail.

Starting the night with “Two Hearted Spider”, the stage was swathed with red light as the band walked confidently into place, the track building with a bravado that immediately increased the energy in the room, readying the assembled masses for the rest of the nights entertainment.

Then we were straight into a personal favourite, “Sugar”, a grittier attitude-filled number, ideal for private singing sessions…something that could also be said for “Karma Climb” (a more dancey number with an 80s vibe).

“Heart Attack” was up next, with an opportunity for lead singer Tom Smith to flex his performative muscles during a great track with a solid beat, one that oozes ‘festival main stage’ with its call & reply opportunities.

Then, after a few more songs from their extensive discography, the band moved onto a surprise cover of “Killer” by Adamski / Seal. An indie version of the 90s masterpiece which perfectly sat within the Editors set, and honestly, it’s a shame it isn’t on one of their album releases.

Then as the evening progressed we started moving into their biggest successes, “The Racing Rats”, a thumping assessment of loneliness, was swiftly followed one of their two top-ten hits “Munich”, with its faster tempo and almost spooky guitar backed chorus , perfectly fitting the aforementioned sing-a-long anthemic trend the band is known for.

“Strange Intimacy” followed, epitomising the electro-edged indie track list of their album EBM from 2022, which highlighted the top-notch performers they are with opportunities to rock-out in the heavier guitar breaks, as well as enabling Tom to bring out a retro microphone and deliver nuanced vocal effects in part, showing a level of detail that only top professionals would put in place for a live performance.

The three “final” tracks of the evening (prior to the expected encore) included another couple of my personal highlights. “Papillon”, not out of place from an electro-edge perspective either, with it’s classic “Kicks Like A Sleep Twitch” line. This was alongside the penultimate song “An End Has A Start”, one which is likely my most played song of theirs in my rotation, and one that’s a top-volume, air guitar sing-fest I recommend over and over.

It brought the crowd to a wonderful crescendo, which was swiftly suppressed with the beautiful and calming track “Nothing”, allowing an opportunity to exit stage (and the crowd to breathe), before they would arrive back on in triumph moments later.

As the encore began, the band teased the expectant crowd, all waiting for the biggest of Editors hits to be played, by first performing “At All Cost” and “The Phone Book”. But then, as the clearly identifiable drum intro for “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” began, everyone lit up, even though they knew this one was never going to be missed off the set list.

As the track built, so did the volume and excitement, jumping to the tremendous drum track, singing
during the harmonious and epic chorus, building and building to a point where guitars, drums, crowd singing and jumping all grouped together in a wonderful aura, and then, in all but a moment, it was done.

The band taking their deserved bows, and the completely satisfied crowd taking a moment to soak in what they had just experienced, excitedly conversing with the fellow concert goers on their walk out of the venue, reminiscing on what had happened only moments ago (as we all do at great gigs!)

Editors now continue their tour into Europe, with further dates in London in May 2024…with an assumption that there will be plenty of summer festival appearances to come as well. If you have the opportunity to see them, my suggestion would be… take it!

Words and photography by Andrew Roast

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