Editors, Glasgow Barrowlands, 3rd March 2020

Last night I was at one of the best, most fun gigs of my life and I almost didn’t go.

To be honest, since the last time I saw Editors in 2015 I haven’t really given them much attention.  I tried to listen to some of their new releases over the years but they didn’t really do it for me. I got bored listening to the same 2 or 3 albums and just sort of stopped. They were still on my radar, following them on social media etc but that was about it. They announced a “Greatest Hits” album and I ignored it. Then they announced a “Greatest Hits” tour and I took a sharp intake of breath. Ok, here we go. As I’ve said before, I’m not much one for nostalgia. Ordinarily I wouldn’t give this kind of thing much thought…..BUT….I never caught Editors during their first two (best) albums.  I saw them in 2013 and 2015 post-Chris, heavy into new album cycles with only a smattering of the old favourites.  This could be my chance to go back in time and finally see those songs live.  Ok, ticket bought.

Then I realised it was a Tuesday, mid-week gigs are tricky at the best of times but especially when the girls have evening activities. But things have been kind of stressful lately, I haven’t been to a gig since early December and since every free minute of mine has been spent studying I have rarely been out at all, the necessary arrangements were made and out I went.

The support were Whispering Sons. I had never heard of them. I didn’t think much of them. I could explain why but don’t want to waste time being mean so I’ll just say they didn’t appeal to me, but might appeal to you, so check them out anyway.

I decided to aim for the front of the crowd this time, after the previous 2 times I was either on the sidelines or further back. I was surprised to be able to get a spot in the 2nd row behind the barrier, to the right side.  People around were friendly and gave each other lots of room.  A few of us shorties stuck together to ensure we all had a decent view.


Editors. Were. Phenomenal.

I was thrilled to bits to hear all those old songs live, I had to admit sometimes a bit of nostalgia isn’t such a bad thing. Honestly, missing seeing this band from becoming a fan in 2007/8 ish through the Chris years caused me actual pain.  The 2013 and 2015 shows were good, but not great.  Last night’s gig erased that pain and fed my musical soul with enough tonic to keep me elevated for quite some time.

They have so many good songs, it’s ridiculous. They played a fair few that I either didn’t know or only knew vaguely, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.  The vast bulk of songs were from The Back Room, An End Has A Start and The Weight of Your Love, which suited me 100%. I really haven’t even listened to any of their stuff for about 5 years, which is a long time.  In a way made it all the more special when my memories were reawakened in a live setting, the whole of the Barras singing along making the songs 3-dimensional again. Papillon is still my favourite, but when they started songs like All Sparks or Blood, I would think to myself, “f*ck yes, this one is brilliant too!” and so it would go on.  For a full hour and 45 minutes, thank you very much

The people around me were singing, dancing, jumping, hands-in-the-air, full-on having a ball, it was such a lot of fun to be down at the front but not get crushed, we had space, we used it to dance and jump around, everyone had a great time and left without any bruises.

There are 5 Editors now, and clearly it is a team affair. The sounds, the energy, the melodies, rhythms and backing come from all 5 members.  I was Russell side and it was amusing to watch him play as if he had just strolled on to the stage to have a wee jam with his mates and look mildly amused that hundreds of people were watching him.  Unfortunately I couldn’t see Ed, as he and his kit were obscured by a piano otherwise I would have been interested to see him in action.  I couldn’t see the other 2 Chris-replacement members on the other side of the stage at all. None of that really mattered, though because whilst not detracting from the very real and important fact that all 5 members contribute to the awesomeness of Editors, there is also Tom Smith. When Tom Smith is on stage, one can only look at Tom Smith and behold his magnificence.

He is an intense performer without being scary or off-putting. Rather his intensity draws you in, you are a part of it.  He focuses on a specific point on the stage, singing to it, gesturing to it, addressing it, then he suddenly turns to the audience and looks us in the eye and we are transfixed. We are part of it too. He sings with his whole body. He writhes, turns, twists, crouches, elongates and almost spasms but somehow does so gracefully, elegantly, sensuously.  It is a continuous gyration that either generates, or is generated by the song, we aren’t sure. The song and the man are one. His voice. Oh lordy, his voice. I have never heard anything like it. Deep, resonant, each syllable enunciated almost too precisely but that is his style and it suits him. It isn’t forced or for effect.  The whole package is just…mesmerising.

But he also makes some expressions while singing that are, frankly, quite comical.

Tom’s funny faces

Anyway, before I write a 5000 word essay on how awesome Tom Smith is (and I could, believe me) I will just remind myself to go back and listen to those old records again, maybe give the newer ones once more try and wallow for as long as I can in the feeling of finally seeing (almost) “classic” Editors live and glad that I was able to go to what turned out to be a very fun, very emotional, uplifting kind of gig.

Wolf Alice, Glasgow Barrowlands, 11th November 2017

Gig time again!!! I’d been looking forward to this one for ages.  Last time Wolf Alice toured I just missed out on tickets, so I was determined to see them this time.  Luckily I was on high alert when they were released, and even luckier they were playing in Glasgow on a Saturday night.  I even managed to rope in a friend to come with me.

I had, however, kind of double booked myself, as I was supposed to be doing volunteer work in Stirling on both Saturday and Sunday.  I braced myself for long days and sleep deprivation on whole new levels, because I wasn’t going to miss out on seeing this band again.  Who needs sleep? Or any kind of rest? Or even sitting down…?

So day one of working weekend completed, I got back on the train to Glasgow.  I met up with Phil and we went for a pre-gig bite to eat.  In fact we were too busy catching up over a burrito that we got to the Barras too late to see the first support.  From the 30 seconds were heard, they sounded decent.

We visited the bar, and found a mid-way-back spot on the floor.  Of course swarms of very tall people then moved in front of us, but that’s gig life when you are 5ft3 / 5ft4.  There was a comedy moment later, when Phil went to the bathroom, I stayed in our spot and, in her words, she then had to try to find “the smallest person in the room” in a crowd of 2000 on the way back. I would argue, but…..

The second support was Sunflower Bean, who were new to me, but very good. Confident, grungy, with cool hooks and singable melodies.

Sunflower Bean

The crowd were more than ready for the main act after this, the hall was full, everyone was jumping and the glitter ball was at the ready.

Wolf Alice were incredible.  You can tell listening to their records that they are a band to be seen and heard live.  The songs had so much more drive than they do on record and something about the immersive experience of a gig and the heavier live sound brought added depth and dimension to the songs.

They are apparently not a band for chit chat, so we got one song after another in quick succession, but the band communicated with the crowd through their music – changing the songs just that little bit to emphasise build ups, drops and sing-a-longs.  There was a lot of sing-a-longs. In fact I felt like we were the only 2 people in the audience who didn’t know every single word.

The enthusiasm of the crowd wasn’t limited to those nearest the stage, it extended all the way to the back of the hall with everyone jumping, dancing and going a bit wild.  I could have done without some of the enforced wildness (stop trying to create circle pits, it’s just annoying for everyone) but that’s part and parcel of a Barras crowd.

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So Wolf Alice were pretty damn good tonight.

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A few days before, Ellie had put a call out on Twitter asking for a local female guitarist to play her part on Moaning Lisa Smile.  The winner was a 16 year old called Freya who was absolutely outstanding.  She not only played the part perfectly, she owned that stage, jumping around with full-on rock moves.  It was brilliant and so much fun to be a part of. Go Freya, we salute you!

They played for almost 90 minutes solid, only stopping for a short pause before a 2 song encore.


Wolf Alice

Afterwards we braved the bathroom and cloakroom queues then had to dash for our respective last trains.  An excellent night of live music and I’m glad I can finally tick Wolf Alice off my list of bands to see.



Editors, Glasgow Barrowlands, 26th November 2013

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. Mostly growing another person inside me, expelling it and trying to keep it, and it’s older sibling alive. All that is quite time consuming.  I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that. I have been to some gigs, and done some other interesting stuff, I have frequently composed blog pieces in my head, but have failed to commit them to the screen.  Also when I logged back on to WordPress I found it had undergone a makeover, so that took some getting used to. Anyway, here I am.

Gigs. I saw a few bands since I last wrote. Actually I just checked and it has been yonks since I wrote about a gig. Hmm… Let’s see.  I saw Tall Ships at the Art School (good, and getting better) Mystery Jets somewhere….Oran Mor? Oh dear. I can’t remember much about that gig, maybe it wasn’t that good… Frightened Rabbit (band were great, Barrowlands crowd were horrific as usual) and The Airborne Toxic Event (awesome, and I even got a lift home from a family I met there after we waited for aaaaaages to meet some of the band).

Me with Steven TATE
Me with Steven TATE
Me and Noah TATE
Me and Noah TATE

Maybe more. That’s all I can remember. However on Tuesday night I saw Editors at the Barrowlands.  This has spurred me on to dust off this blog and get my thoughts out there.

I have been ambivalent about Editors recently. Well, for about 4 years since I got In This Light and on This Evening, listened to it a few times and really didn’t like it. I remarked to a friend at the time that it was like Chris (lead guitarist and responsible for a lot the the band’s signature sounds) wasn’t there, and Tom (lead singer) had produced it alone in his bedroom. They dropped from my playlists.  Then Chris left.  I couldn’t imagine how the band could carry on as Editors without him.  But they did.  They issued a new album.  I didn’t listen.  I couldn’t bring myself too. This was a band I had loved for years, who had brought me into contact with so many other bands that I then fell in love with.  They mean a lot to me, but it was like they had split up.  It wasn’t Editors without Chris, it was a new band.

One day I heard their new single on the radio. Dammit, it was good! I didn’t want to like it. But, ugh, Tom’s voice! All the feelings about the band came flooding back. I felt torn. Then I saw tickets on sale for their tour. Double dammit. I had never seen them live.  They have come to Glasgow several times, but each time something has prevented me from going. Should I?  I agonised.  I had pretty much given up on them, I had mourned their passing. But the chance to see Tom and the rest of the band live, and hear some of the old songs that are such a huge part of my musical experience? I couldn’t resist, I bought a ticket.

I remained torn.  When the ticket arrived I felt guilty.  I didn’t want to go.  Then the rational being inside me won and I thought I should at least go and give them a chance. I had spent good money on the ticket and opportunities for nights out are few and far between these days. I embarked on my bus journey filled with trepidation.

The support was British Sea Power, who I have heard good things about, but unfortunately by the time I had fed the baby, got ready to go and endured the slowest bus journey in history, I missed them.  Even with 5 minutes to go I was nervous. What if I hated it? What if some random bloke was pretending to be Chris? What if the Barrowlands crowd were their usual rude, drunken, don’t-care-about-the-music-just-here-for-a-piss-up selves? I got a (non-alcoholic) drink and tried to find a good spot. Barrier felt wrong, but in the middle I’d get crushed/see nothing and at the back I’d be in the middle of the bar highway and chatterboxes.  I stayed on the bar side, and found a perch on the raised section quite near the front. Close enough and high enough to get a good view, near enough to the proper fans not to have the experience spoiled but still with an easy escape route should I need it.

They came on.  They started with a song I don’t know.  As with all songs I didn’t know it could have been new, or it could have been from ITLAOTE.  I never got to know that album well enough to recognise the songs.  It was good.  Tom commanded the stage and his voice was as rich, clear and utterly sexy as it is recorded. They sounded like Editors, but also different.  The signature sound was altered.  Still recognisable, but new, different.  I breathed a sigh of relief, relaxed and immediately knew I was going to enjoy the show.


There was a good mix of old songs and new.  The crowd went crazy for the oldies, but were still appreciative of the new ones.  The band played pretty much non-stop, Tom said the occasional “Thank you!” and gave us a thumbs up, but otherwise it was back-to-back songs. Chris-replacement-guy was a beardy bloke who pretty much just stood there, did his stuff and got on with it.  He played a Telecaster, which endeared him to me somewhat, but I was pleased that he didn’t try to replicate Chris’ sound.  The riffs and guitar lines were still there, but modified just enough to make them sound different, but still recognisable.  I still regret not seeing Chris play those parts live, but I liked what they did with them.  I accepted beardy-guy and almost forgot he was there most of the time.  Partly cos he wasn’t in-your-face but mostly, frankly, because I was fixed on Tom. Tom Smith, the ordinary name belies the wonder that is the man who holds it. Gorgeous voice, sexy moves *sighs dreamily*. Ahem, where was I?


Yes, so I had come to accept the new line up, but my side-on view meant that I could only see Tom, Russell and new-beardy-guy.  During Racing Rats, some other random dude ran to the front of the stage, guitar in hand, and started rousing the crowd. I was jarred out of my acceptance, “Who the f*ck are you?!?” Then I remembered, they had “replaced” Chris with 2 guys. He must be Chris-replacement-number-2.

They played for a good 90 minutes solid, something I approve of having seen too many bands in recent years come on for 45 minutes then bail.  After a short pause they came back to do a decent encore, ending on Papillon, which I was pleased about as I actually liked that one from that album. I was kind of hoping for a slower, maybe a wee acoustic section at some point in the show, but that wasn’t to be, however I can’t complain at nearly 2 hours of non-stop, energetic, live music.

And for once, no idiots ruined my night, almost unheard of at the Barras!

So my faith in Editors has been restored, I am extremely glad I decided to bite the bullet and get a ticket, and FINALLY see these guys (most of them) live, it was a long time coming.

For those of you who don’t know Editors, check them out, and if anyone, like me is a sucker for an acoustic track, this is a must see: