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.

Editors, Glasgow Academy, 18th October 2015

Helllloooooo there!

It’s been ages! How many of my blog posts begin like this? Once again life has gotten in the way of me telling you about my life. Well an awesome gig has shaken me out of my reclusivity (Is that a word? It should be), and it was Editors again!

I had to go back and re-read what I wrote about Editors last time, cos I felt like I would be repeating myself. Here it is, in case you are interested…

Well a lot was similar to last time. The band had released a new album. I hadn’t listened to it. I had only listened to the previous ones a handful of times. I was ambivalent about buying a ticket and going to see them again. But this time I had the experience of seeing them once before, and that was a bloody good experience, so I thought “what the hell” and bought a ticket.  I later found out that a friend of mine from an early sign language class was also going, so it would be good to have a gig buddy and catch up.

I wanted to get there early to get near the front, also I found out that the Twilight Sad were supporting so I wanted the chance to see them properly after loosely following them for a number of years.  I met up with my friend and her friend, and we lingered just behind the crowd at the front as we chatted waiting for them to come on.  The Twilight Sad were really good.  They seemed to be approaching this as something akin to a headline set for them, so they went all out and the crowd responded accordingly, getting the party started early.  We discussed how we had never purposefully bought a Twilight Sad album or listened to them properly before, then wondered why the hell not, cos they were rocking the roof off the Academy.

After they had finished, and their lead singer looked like he was going to explode from the sheer exhilaration of the whole experience, I noticed the couple in front of us eagerly googling the band, clearly they had made an impression on them too.

During the break, after a suitable pause to let as many people go to the bar / loo as possible, we sidled our way as far forward as we could without being rude. Inevitably, several times during the night various tall people came and stood right in front of us (hate being short at gigs) but the crowd wasn’t so packed that we couldn’t shift a bit and still see.

We didn’t have too long to wait until Editors came on. Just the same as last time, right from the get-go I knew this would be a good gig. Their familiar sound filled the hall, Tom’s voice penetrates your very soul and everything makes sense. They play with an energy, an urgency that I just don’t get listening to their records.  I had managed to listen to the newer albums a couple of times before the night, so I kind of recognised the new songs, but only knew like 1 word in 20. Regardless I did my best to sing along, no doubt annoying the “real” fans who were belting out every word. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t as familiar with the songs, I got swept away in the music and captivated by Tom’s performance.


I will try not to gush here, but with Chris not being pat of the band any more (still hurts) I’m afraid I don’t know the new guys’ names, it’s all about Tom. To some extent he carries the whole band, in more ways that a lead singer should. I didn’t feel like the guitar/synth combo was anything special, their sound is still lacking something.  But I literally couldn’t take my eyes off of Tom, apart from to occasionally look at Ed on drums, cos he’s cool and drums are cool. Ok, really trying not to gush here, but Tom is just so goddam sexy and his voice I think literally melted something inside me.  He moved, gestured, writhed and as we say here “gave it laldy” for the full 1 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES of their set. 1 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES!! According to a setlist site we got 21 songs. Just like last time, the songs were only momentarily punctured with an occasional “thank you!”. He’s not a talker, our Tom.


One thing that was different from last time was that we did get a short, 1-song acoustic section. Tom performed a solo, acoustic version of Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors, which has always resonated with me, as I once lived on a street just outside a hospital – a fucking children’s hospital and maternity unit no less, and it was indeed a sad, sad sight to see people smoking outside. The song may well have a deeper meaning than that, but once you have seen a heavily pregnant woman in a hospital gown puffing away on a fag, that image stays with you. Anyway, I digress.  It was a gorgeous, mass-sing-a-long moment, only slightly ruined by the people who continued to talk during this most intimate, tender performance.  I was hoping for a couple of songs, but 1 is better than none. Thanks Tom. (inset lovey-eyed emoji here)

There was a point, during the very U2-esque “A Ton of Love” that I suddenly wondered why on earth this band were no longer the next U2? Sure, they had a couple of very popular albums, then some less so, but their live shows are amazing, Tom is a perfect front man, they clearly have a dedicated fan base. Maybe their time will yet come, or they will be slow burners, always somewhere on the scene and in 30 years I’ll still be there, singing along and telling my kids/grandkids that back in the day, this ageing rocker was actually a hot young thing….


By the encore, which included a stomp-fest, hands in the air Papillon, I was exhausted. Didn’t want it to stop, but thought I might need a sit-down if it carried on.  Must be getting old. Almost 2 hours of non-stop, jumping, sexy rock music. Why did I ever doubt you, Editors? One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.

Since the gig I’ve gone back and listened to the “new” albums. I’ve decided that In This Light and On This Evening is pretty shite.  Barring Papillon and Eat Raw Meat, maybe You Don’t Know Love it’s boring. Really boring. But I’ve discovered I really like The Weight of Your Love. Well it gets a bit slow towards the end, but otherwise it’s a much stronger album that I first gave it credit. The actual new one is too new, but I’ll give it more of a chance now. Unfortunately I think Editors are one of those bands whose music really comes to life when played live, but I’m definitely not going to dismiss them as has-beens. And next time they come to town I’ll be there. And I look forward to taking my daughters and future grandchildren.

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:



Let’s Dance to Joy Division (and celebrate the irony)

Sometimes I like flicking through my music library just seeing what comes up, not settling on any one artist or album in particular.  Sometimes I just can’t decide what I want to listen to and try a few things before coming to rest on something that fits my mood.  Other times I get a bit obsessed with one artist and just listen to them over and over, exploring their full back catalogue, seeking out B-sides, rarities and covers they have done.  I wrote last week about my love affair with REM.  This week it has been Editors.

I’ve been a fan of Editors since their first album, The Back Room, and have listened to it and the second album, An End Has A Start a lot over the years.  I did buy their third album, In This Light and On This Evening shortly after it came out, but I kind of forgot about it until recently.  I’ll blame it on the fact that it came out when my daughter was 3 months old, so I was probably busy.  I had bought the physical CD for some reason (so long ago I can’t remember) but never got round to putting it onto my laptop or mp3 player, so it lay forgotten until a conversation with a friend reminded me about it, and about Editors in general.

So I’ve been listening to them over the past few days, starting with the first 2 albums and now the latest one.  I’ve been searching for interviews with them, both written and video, to find out a bit more.

I’ve said before that I like musicians with personalities and music with substance.  The members of Editors all come across as interesting, funny, smart individuals.  Tom and Chris are the 2 that most often pop up in interviews, but it’s not uncommon to find the other 2, Russell and Ed, contributing too.  I like it when all the members of a band get involved in things, rather than just the front man.  As for the music having substance, it seems like they have been criticised for having too much of the stuff.

Every interview mentions that they are renowned for being moody / gloomy / depressing / dark etc etc.  They pick up on Tom’s lyrics as being all about death, mortality and loss.  Every interviewer seems to refer to other people comparing Editors to Joy Division or other supposedly dark and gloom-laden bands.   I was pleased to see that the guys themselves counter this by saying that although there are aspects of that in their lyrics and music, that they are also trying to create something positive, uplifting and life-affirming.  I was mainly pleased because that was the feeling I got listening to them.  Of course there is no denying that the lyrics, read alone, do paint a pretty grim picture, but I think it’s more the case that Tom is trying to reflect reality than painting a deliberately bleak picture for the sake of it.

Yeah, I know, I should have references and quotes here.  I read / viewed all these interviews over the past few days, but didn’t save them. Trust me. Or do what I did – type “Editors interview” into your favoured search engine and just start at the top.  Oh I will recommend the Face Culture series of interviews, available in YouTube, Face Culture always do good stuff.

Anyway, so yes, I was pleased because that was exactly the feeling I got – first impressions of the music was that it was interesting – great guitar (Chris Urbanowicz has a really distinctive sound and way of accompanying songs that I just love) and bass lines, tight drumming, and the vocals – I don’t know the correct word to describe Tom’s vocals – beautiful seems too feminine….his voice has the ability to make you sit up, take notice, and possible melt your insides a little.  Then once I got to hear the lyrics, they really appealed to me because a) they were actually saying something (substance) and b) they struck a chord with me (‘scuse the pun) and correlated with my world-view.

Yes, there are themes that some might consider depressing, but they are issues that are real, relevant and, well, substantial.  Sorry if I’m over-applying that word.  I mean music can be escapist and idealistic and contain themes of dreams and aspirations, I don’t have a problem with that, variety being the spice of life and all, but I think there is a place for the darker side of life (and death) too.  If that is something you think about, it helps to know that other people are thinking about it too. Song lyrics can be comforting because they put into words what you can’t yourself, or they make you see something from a new perspective.  Certainly when I have dabbled in writing songs I have been at my most productive lyric-wise when I have been dwelling on something troubling.  It is cathartic.  And let’s face it it is more interesting than the “I woke up, had a cup of tea” school of song-writing.

On this note, I’ve been watching the “Secrets of the Pop Song” series on the BBC.  It was fascinating for many reasons – my favourite nugget of info was that in Queen’s early days their concerts were serious solemn affairs with the audience listening politely and quietly, until one gig some people started singing along, and the rest, as they say, is “We Will Rock You” among others.  But anyway, what I found most fascinating about the series was that in each case, the artists turned up to Guy Chambers’ studio (OMG how I would love to spend a day there, heaven!) without any real idea of what form their song would take.  They mostly played around with rhythms, chords, hooks etc until they formed the basis of the song, then the singer came up with lyrics to suit.  Now I know that it is not an uncommon method of song-writing, to create the musical elements first and add lyrics on top, but what struck me was that the lyrics were (it seemed, maybe the editing didn’t do it justice) given the least attention.  There was little emphasis put on the meaning of the words, or the message they conveyed.  Partly it was because Guy Chambers doesn’t do lyrics, he made the odd suggestion for tweaking, but that seemed to be mainly to do with rhythm or emphasis.  Fair enough, it was a series about Pop songs, so maybe I’m expecting too much, but there were some serious artists there, Rufus Wainwright, the Noisettes, Mark Ronson and a newcomer called Tawiah, who I actually liked a lot and she was shown spending time agonising over her lyrics.

It just seemed weird to me that they could produce something and not already have an idea about what it was all about.  Maybe it’s just because that’s not the way I’d do it, maybe it’s because it was more about creating a song that would serve a purpose rather than be about expressing a particular sentiment. Or maybe it’s because I’ve spent too much time listening to bands like Editors where lyrics are so important.

In any case I found it informative, inspiring and thought-provoking, which is a good thing, but particularly so in my recent REM / Editors phase of obsession.

I’ve only listened to Editors latest album a couple of times, I’ll reserve full judgement until I’ve heard it more.  My first thoughts were, “where the hell is Chris and his awesome guitars?”, it sounded a bit like Tom had recorded it alone in his bedroom, all prominent vocals with synth and drum-machine backing.  But I realise that this is them taking a new direction, you can’t re-hash the same old guitar riffs again and again and still maintain interest.  I learned my lesson from Mystery Jets, when I really didn’t take to their latest album because it was so different from the first two, but once I heard it for what it was in its own right, I began to fully appreciate it.  I’ll keep the same open mind about In This Light… and see what I think after it’s been on repeat a few more times.

And I’ve STILL never seen Editors live! They’ve been to Glasgow several times over the past few years, but various things have been conspiring to keep me away from their gigs.  If/when I finally do get to see them, I’ll be one of those annoying people that bug the hell out of me at gigs, and I’ll go mental for the old songs from the first 2 albums.  I’ve seen Editors performances on TV etc and they always look like they do really good shows, they play with a passion and intensity that you don’t often see.  As soon as they announce a new album and a tour I’ll be queueing up for tickets and anything else that comes up can forget it, I’m seeing Editors come hell or high water.  If I can see Franz Ferdinand while 6 months pregnant, nothing short of actually giving birth will stop me from seeing Editors.

BTW I don’t really know much about Joy Division, I’ve never really purposefully listened to them, I just know the songs that get played on radio etc. Or feature in movies like Series 7: The Conteders. That’s what I think about every time I hear Joy Division.  That and the Wombats song that the title of this blog refers to.