Gary Flockhart: Great gig no blot on Editors’ book

Tom Smith. Picture: Alan Rennie

Tom Smith. Picture: Alan Rennie

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IT’S Saturday night and the Picture House is steadily filling up. The occasion is Editors’ return to the Capital, the Birmingham doom-and-gloom merchants back after a four-year hiatus and a near breakdown of the band.

As more and more fans file in, the skinny-jeaned indie-kid beside me starts mumbling. “Bad feeling about this,” he says, as much to himself as to me. “Doubt they’ll be the same with a new line-up.”

Skinny-jeans is referring to the loss of founder member Chris Urbanowicz, the lead guitarist and synth player whose departure last year led to what frontman Tom Smith has described as a “traumatic, heartbreaking time” for Editors’ remaining members.

The loss of a key player often signals the beginning of the end for a band and, given that Urbanowicz lent much to Editors’ sound, I can just about understand Skinny-jeans’ concern. Not that he was worried for long.

Halfway into opener Sugar, Skinny-jeans is grinning like an idiot and, by the time they’d followed up with the soaring Munich, he’s legged it to join the melee in the mosh pit.

The future of the Mercury Prize-nominated band may have sat undecided following Urbanowicz’s departure, but here, performing as a five-piece following the introduction of Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams, it was business as usual as they played a typically grandiose set.

Having caught Editors live on several occasions – from them performing to just a few hundred at Cabaret Voltaire in 2005 to their sell-out show at Corn Exchange the following year to the summer of 2007 when they blew co-headliners Razorlight off the stage in front of 20,000 fans at Meadowbank Stadium – I’ve come to consider them as one of the best of today’s medium-large British indie bands. Saturday’s gig did nothing to dispel the notion.

Rousing stuff from a band whose new line-up has left them revived.