Unsurprisingly the 02 Academy in Leeds was full to capacity with an audience eager to witness two bands of notoriety on the same billing. It is a rarity for a support band to be of such high quality and reputation. British Sea Power are arguably held within higher esteem than Editors within the music press and perhaps this would explain the nature of the set British Sea Power chose to perform.
The stage was set up in their traditional fashion with plenty of fairy lights and foliage and their set was designed to please their existing supporters more than it was to entice a new fan base. It was a quality set but it seemed to be performed in a very relaxed and nonchalant manner. Maybe if I was a band of the artistry of British Sea Power I would be a little bit put out about having to support a band who have been around for half of the time they have, and are generally considered to be of less artistic merit. The fans that had prior knowledge of them enjoyed their set despite the usual decision not to play their latest single ‘Monsters Of Sunderland’. The highlight of their set for the majority of the crowd was when their trademark polar bears came out and danced and fought each other in front of the stage.
It was now the turn of Editors to try and follow the dancing bears. Editors have taken a lot of stick throughout their career, in the beginning they received criticism for Tom Smith’s vocals being perceived as an Ian Curtis impersonation. The latest album has been an attempt to steer away from that but now he is being accused of a mimicking Bono. On the recordings both these criticisms seem apt but during the live show his own voice was neither of those things whether the material was new or old, and yet it wasn’t noticeably dissimilar from the recordings.
As the smoke machines filled the stage and their impressive lights show got underway the crowd were in fine voice and spirits and Smith proved to be a fine front man, encouraging and exciting them. Smith’s performance was one of passion, he put in plenty of energy and emotion. He seemed to be lost in the moment of each song and allowed himself to be controlled by his emotive response. Admittedly it often seemed like a slightly camp response but it was clear to see how much the music meant to him.
The bass was higher in the mix that would have been expected but it worked really well and added levity to tracks such as ‘A Ton Of Love’, ‘Munich’ and ‘The Racing Rats’ which all got huge receptions. Their even mixture of new and old material went down a storm with their adoring crowd and there was a warm uplifting atmosphere as the gig came to a close.