Live Review: Editors at Barrowland Ballroom

Beneath emerald and sunburnt stars, the Barrowlands Ballroom fills with anticipation and excitement. Fans in black merchandise t-shirts carry pints of beer over the swaying heads, and rapid chatter spots the air, many mouths speculating the potential setlist. Violence, the band’s latest album, diverts away from Editors well known dark, synthpop roots and expands their tone, adopting a lighter, fresher sound and proving that they are capable of avoiding the expected.

Having had to cancel their show in Aberdeen only the night before due to their frontman, Tom Smith, being unable to sing, there was doubt that the band would be taking to the Barrowlands stage. However, not a group to let a Glasgow crowd down, they came out in full force. Smith is a performer who does not hold back. He commands the stage with confidence and authority and wears his heart on his sleeve, offering everything he has to the expanse of the crowd who adoringly chant the lyrics along with him – which, due to his current situation, he probably especially appreciated.

There was an absence of smartphones being held in the air, the audience appreciating the moment and immersing themselves in the music and cheerful atmosphere which surrounded them. The band’s deep bass and drums hit you in the chest at full force, a beat you could feel throughout your whole body. It was invigorating but also, at times, distracting from the melodic aspects of the songs. There was a struggle to hear Smith’s vocals, the lyrics drowned out by the cacophony of noise enveloping the stage, and the balance of the guitar wavered under the force of the rhythm section.

Strong strobe lights bathed the crowd, providing an impactful backdrop; punctuating the pauses and swells of the music alongside Smith’s enthusiastic leaps and gyrations. Their song Darkness at the Door stood out amongst the heavier, more rock influenced pieces; the brighter vocals working with the melodic aspects provided by the band to create a fun, dance-like sound. Contrasting to this, Magazine adopts the darker qualities that Editors have become known to excel in, with frantic synths and drums pushing the pace along, consuming the crowd to then pull them back again with a sudden shift in intensity, ready to start over.

The incorporation of upbeat elements to this new album has served it well in allowing it stand out from the rest of their repertoire, though they still kept their loyal fans happy with throwbacks to their older material, performing the anthemic An End Has A Start and Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors. These songs serving as a reminder of how far the British band have come, and how far they could potentially still go. With the group still releasing raw, modernistic music to a devoted fan base, Editors are sure to enjoy their well-earned place within our musical history for some time to come.


By Charlotte Riley

Photo credit: Rahi Rezvani