Its different these days. Such is the clamour for tickets that an act with a debut album barely months old can sell out a couple of nights here. From these, some will fall by the wayside, daunted by the size and unable to make the huge stage their own.
Take tonights support act, The National. They recorded their first album before theyd even played a gig they were friends mucking about with music and it shows. Matt Berningers Tinderstick-y vocals struggle to be heard above their brand of glum rock and his habit of forcefully lodging his spare hand against his ear, or across his chest, suggests hes not comfortable up there. In addition, the bands spotlight frequently moves off the band and onto the audience, which wouldnt be the greatest confidence booster, even without the sea of stony faces.
Tom Smith seems to be suffering from a similar crisis, tightly hugging himself as he and his band punctually take the stage for what is Editors biggest gig yet. However, this proves to be just a personal gee up and as they launch into Someone Says the singer is quickly animated, and the pattern for the evening of fiercely beaten drums, Spartan riffs and, yes, Joy Division references, is set.
Any comparison with the image of Ian Curtis is wayward though, as Smith is quite happy to interact with the audience during songs. During All Sparks any doubts as to whether the band are truly uber cool are dispelled when Smith attempts to start a bout of handclapping and smacks himself on the nose with his guitar neck.
The front man, as they always do, draws all the attention. He is all over the stage, constantly contorting his unfeasibly bendy body - the on floor foetal curl at the end of new song Bones being the most extreme example of his elasticity. In comparison, bassist Russell Leetch is boxed in, monitors in front, Piano and stage exit either side all preventing him from showing off.
As the gig ticks on to the 45 minute mark each tune suggests that this is the last one before the encore. First Camera builds from a sparse start to a massive crescendo, then You are Fading does the same. Now they throw in their biggest hit Munich, which youd expected to have been saved. It is rapturously received; the guitar even more frenetic than it is on record. It actually is Open Your Arms that is the last song.
Bizarrely, as the encore begins with Lights, a gang of 6 show up and take their (previously empty) seats at the front of the balcony. Judging by their reaction they are fans, so where have they been?
No matter, as Smith is now singing acappella well we know where were going, but we dont know where weve been, the start to Talking Heads surely uncoverable Road to Nowhere. The audience holds its breath, wondering whether they were actually going to do this. They do, and its not half bad. They cover it, not copy it, and adding the Editors signature guitar to the sound is sufficient to make it acceptable.
Finally, they close with Fingers in the Factories, during which even Leetch escapes from his cell to venture stage front. Its a rousing finale to an impressive night.
Biggest gig of their career? This has been a piece of cake. They may have fast-tracked to this venue, but with another album or so of similar standard material, theyll play bigger.
sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.