Review + Photos: Editors @ Heineken Music Hall – Amsterdam

There are only a few bands that I would go and watch live if I have to travel accross countries to watch them play, especially with the pain I have from a recent car crash I was in. I thought that Editors could be worth it, and they absolutely proved me right. Read along here to know more of my latest experiences…

At AMBY, we have a motto that is: “We share your passion for music” and I know that all writers and photographers here go pretty far to cover music all over for you lovely readers.

I had just noticed that UK band Editors was out and about again. They had released their new album “In Dream” in October and went on a European tour to present the new material. I have followed their music for many years now and was very excited to check out the new material. I made sure to book a travel down to Netherlands to cover one of their shows for AMBY right away. They were going to play nothing less than 3 sold out shows in a row at the same music hall in Amsterdam, and I would just love to take part in that. The thing is, life can be tricky. Some days you make plans for life, and some days life has other plans for you.. and tests, life has tests. I guess I was met by the latter these days. What to do then? 3 days before Editors’ gig in Netherlands it seemed like my plans got thrown away as I got into a car crash. I would never have thought that an accident would happen. On our way to a family gathering in another city, a man suddenly drove his car right in front of ours with no chance to avoid an accident. There wasn’t much festivities for us right then. The car got all smashed up and landed in a field. All 5 in our car was picked up by ambulances and driven to different hospitals. Everybody in the car got different breaks and bruises. I hit the back of my head against the side window which turned to bumps and headache. As well as a whiplash, sore body and other bruises right then. As the situation got more clear, first thought was, phew just happy for all to be alive and not worse than this. Second thought was no, no, no.. can I travel with this now? After a lot of rest I decided on the day before the event that I just had to travel to see this concert, just wouldn’t miss it. So I packed my camera gear along with painkillers and got ready to give it a go the best I managed.

The travel from Denmark down to Netherlands went relatively easy with sleep and I think that the excitement about attending a concert kept me going. I arrived to the area around Heineken Music Hall in good time before the event and was happy to soak up the nice surroundings and excited pre-concert mood among the audience. I had been in a zombie mood the last couple of days and felt quite tired before the show, so made a deal with a bartender that it was alright for me to lean against the bar once in the venue. While I spend some time there my new pal by the bar reached out and asked me: “So are you a big fan of the band?” That was quite a direct question and after a short thought to it I answered: “Phew, well yes I am!” Then he asked me: “Why do you like them?” It began to feel like an interview with these relevant questions piling up, which forced me to formulate my thoughts on the band to another person right away. Turned out the guy didn’t know much about the band’s music, so I answered him: “Well, that is difficult to say, because there is so much I like about them. They play this kind of dark alternative rock, with these great philosophical lyrics. Giving you some thoughts on life. Like they have a song where they say “An end has a start” or “The saddest thing that I’d ever seen were smokers outside the hospital doors”.. I really like that.” Thought this was some nice basic knowledge to Editors. The guy repeated the words “An end has a start” to himself a couple of times and told me that this would be his new motto in life. He liked the play between darkness and hope. I let him know that he was getting it and that Editors do call themselves “optimistic miserabilists”. I was happy to get a bit geeky with music and get Editors another fan before the concert had even started out this night. After a short chat I moved closer to the stage to have a listen to support act that was about to play.

That is another great thing about Editors, they always make sure to introduce me to other interesting acts. I remember back in the days when they got Mobius Band and Red Light Company to support them at a small, sweaty venue in Denmark, and 3 years ago they got Balthazar to warm up the audience at a university hall in Norway. So this time Editors got the Scots in The Twilight Sad to support them on tour. The Twilight Sad had entered the stage with a most friendly introduction from vocalist James Graham, showing off a charming Scottish accent. The band gathered their gear and during their set of songs it got clear that this band has a sound and stage personality that belongs out there to be seen. Songs “There Is A Girl In The Corner” and “It Was Never The Same” were presented with a sharp precision, catchy melody and strong live vocal. Graham shared an electric feel with sudden dancey shakes to the rhythms and in the more calm moments you would see him with an epic interaction to the surroundings, standing still, head up, and attention drawn towards a blue stage light on the ceiling. I didn’t get to photograph this gig, but definitely hope to cover one of their shows for you another time. I believe that you are going to hear more from these guys future on.

In the pause between acts the venue was buzzing from all the chatty people. This was soon changed to all cheers as it got clear that Editors was about to hit the stage. The guys took positions and seemed to enjoy the good space surrounding them at Heineken Music Hall. The stage got a short runway in the middle that suited the band very well, letting their active personalities have more space to jump around and also get a bit closer to the audience there. Vocalist Tom Smith has gotten known his passion to illustrate their songs with free spirited moves that is only something a contortionist can keep up with, and he sure showed us more of these charismatic moves in Amsterdam. The band filled out the venue with an ease.

A high quality production filmed the concert from all possible angles and two big screens on the side of the stage made it easy for the audience to follow along on what was happening all over the venue besides their own point of view. I told myself that if these recordings are going to be put on a DVD, then I would be happy to be one of the first to purchase it. Not only with the strong performance from Editors, but also with the playful way to film the concert with a sharp resolution. The technicians did a good work, keeping the audience updated on what was happening during the performance. Like that point when a cameramen got his attention set on the audience where a sweet woman, slightly elder than the rest, was singing along with passion and rocking out from the very front row. A fine picture on the general mood. The sight of her on the big screens brought a lot of heartfelt “Aww” – sounds among the audience around me and I couldn’t help but share a smile as well.

The setlist was about 20 songs build on a nice mix of work from their five albums, from “Blood”, “The Racing Rats”, “Papillon” to “Formaldehyde” and latest “Forgiveness”. The set of songs gave a good impression of the band’s various sound from guitar based to the extended use of synth, as well as taking us through an emotional journey from the tough to the calm and back. A moment that sticks out for being all simple, but powerful was when Smith walked to the runway with a acoustic guitar in his hand and started to perform “Smokers outside the hospital doors” on his own to a quiet hall of listeners having chills up their arms, only interrupted by the audience own urge to sing along with a beautiful choir. I have watched this song being performed full band at smaller venues, up close and heartfelt some years ago and even though the settings were changed to a great music hall and a whole lot of people on this night, then the performance felt more intense and heartfelt than ever. It was also a great joy to hear the delicious details to both guitars, keys and drum merge together on the new songs “Forgiveness” and “Ocean Of Night”. It was first time I heard these song being played live, but the songs felt right at place with the other material as dark, playful and all catchy.

Editors generally managed to surprise me more than once during the show, but especially with the great presentation of new song “Salvation” that started out calm with a lovely way to have Smith’s sweet vocal abilities shine through before the band turned to a more dramatic expression in the chorus with tough choir from several band members and a powerful play. When the band members would release the word “Salvation” in a choir, then bright lights would be flashing and pyro machines would let out flames on the stage to breathtaking precision and a perfect way to illustrate the rough mood. A fine contrast to the more soft spots. This song will also stick out as a personal favorite from now, added flames or not. Still the show never had a dull moment as it kept the visual presentation going with more use of pyro machines, golden fireworks presented both as a shimmering curtain and sparkling geysers, as well as a gorgeous use of different light techniques in the music hall during the entire concert, which added a new look on the band’s well known songs. This set an impressive standard for what a concert could include, but the band had saved some of the best for last. By the end of the concert the band had made sure that confetti canons would release a ton of white confetti flakes towards the ceiling of the venue and let it fall like snow in a winter dream. The band was sure to get a ton of love right back for this.

I am well aware that this review have been all positive here. I simply can not point a finger at something that could be slightly questionable and my thoughts are lacking any ideas for possible improvements, because Editors just served us all you could dream of within quality music and I feel assured that they will up keep doing that. Only thing that I might could have missed was the other fine songs they didn’t get to play like “Hyena”, “Fingers In The Factory”, and “The Sting”, but it just shows that the guys got a lot of other songs they can use whenever they feel like changing a bit around the setlist. All I know is, I don’t think I have been tired and sore after a concert like this, but it was all worth it. I left Editors’ concert feeling drained from energy, and filled with pure joy instead.

When I arrived back in Denmark I got picked up at the airport by a temporary rented car. I was surprised as I could hear Editors’ song “Forgiveness” being played when I opened the car door. I remember saying: “Hi there.. Oh my God, that is Editors’ song! How weird is that..”My dad had apparently been influenced by my recent music recommendations and had gone online to buy the digital version of the new album “In Dream”. He had found it suitable to welcome me back home with this tune, and I agree that it couldn’t have been a better way to get back home and listen to this record before I will watch Editors perform live another time.

So as I started this article with, so I will end it. There is only a few bands that I would go and watch live if I have to travel across countries to watch them play and got pain from a recent car crash I was in. I thought that Editors could be worth it, and they absolutely proved me right.



Follow updates from Editors here.

Review and Photos by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets

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