13th October 2022
Off the back of their latest album release EBM earlier this year, Editors hit the halfway stage of their European tour with a show at Tempodrom, Berlin. Nick O’Leary (words) and Svenja Block (photos) went along to see what was what.
There are certain bands that seem to exist within a sort of time bubble. It’s almost as if they’re frozen in time, fossilised in one sound, existing solely to try and say the same thing but with different words (sound familiar?). Some would say these bands lack progression while others would argue that they have simply ‘found their sound’. Editors appear to be one of these bands.
Their first major success came back in 2005 with the release of their debut album The Back Room which they followed up with a second record, An End Has A Start, two years later. Both went platinum. The band had clearly found their sound. But after six album releases to date, it still feels like the band are digging into that same treasure trove.
At times, it can be hard to distinguish albums from one and another, with it often being the case that one song could be copied onto another album without the record veering of course. That’s not to say Editors haven’t evolved. On more recent releases that band have opted for a more electronic sound, switching out guitars for synths. But the synths often replace the guitars, rather than offering a new outlet for creativity and direction.
This is something that translated into the band’s recent live performance. There wasn’t much rise and fall during their set. However, the music they play does hold some sort of power. It can feel introspective, dark and even a bit thrilling at times – they are a relatively successful band, after all, and that’s nothing to be scoffed at. There’s no faulting the band’s professionalism. With nearly two decades of experience behind them, the six-piece don’t look out of place on stage when they calmly wander in front of the swarming crowd at Berlin’s Tempodrom.
Getting the ball rolling, Editors kick off with two tracks from their latest album EBM, single release Heart Attack and Strawberry Lemonade. With these two songs both being packed with syncopated drums and synthesises, it gets the crowd engaged straight away which is a great start for showing off the band’s balance. Lead singer and frontman Tom Smith’s melancholic vocals are perfectly suited to the band’s mix of dark synthwave and bright alternative rock that became so synonymous with the decade Editors first emerged in.
It doesn’t take long for the band to dip into their back catalogue and bring out a fan favourite. After a few repetitions of “Dankeschön” in a somewhat questionable German accent, the unmistakably heavy drum beat of Sugar fills the arena and is followed by Smith’s powerful vocals. It’s a track that catches traction and gets the crowd swaying in appreciation.
In the end, the audience is treated to a relatively long set, lasting 19 songs which includes mostly newer material with a sprinkling of songs from their earlier days. However, truth be told, at times it feels like certain tracks are there to help prop the show up, rather than elevate the performance into a spectacle. Which is what so often separates good shows from, well, spectacular shows. This lack of rise and falls meant that, at times, it feels like the gig is passing by at the same level, relying on the crowd’s reaction to the songs to determine how powerful the performance should be, not the other way around.
Saving what may be seen as the best for last, the band goes out with fan favourites Munich and Papillon, riling up those in attendance as best as they can for one last push. But the lack of diversity in Editor’s catalogue produces a show that to some, will simply pass by almost entirely on the same level.
For any true Editors supporter, the night would have surely been worthwhile had they got the chance to dance away to some of their favourite tracks. The band have a large selection of songs to play which are guaranteed crowd-pleasers and hearing the new releases played live would have been a treat for anyone who is a big fan. But for a casual listener or anyone who’s ducked their head in for a bit of live music on a Thursday night, the show may not amount to anything more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Which, to be fair, is something we all find ourselves craving from time to time.
Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to use/purchase or licence any images please contact Svenja Block at email@example.com.
New album EBM is out now and can be ordered here
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All words © Nick O’Leary. Find more of Nick’s writing at his author’s archive.
All photography © Svenja Block. You can find more of Svenja’s work at her Linktree , and at her author’s archive
Shoddy, lazy writing. 4 piece band – not since the departure of then lead guitarist Chris. Where you actually there?