I’ll be honest with you, there’s a certain type of person who’s just not cool enough to see a band touring their best album, and I am that person. Maybe you’re the same as me – It’s okay to admit it. Maybe by the time you got the see Arctic Monkeys live they were churning out sets that were 99% Humbug. Maybe you too spent a good couple of years thinking Chief Keef was that Native American bloke from The Village People. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it does mean you’re destined to spend your life dragging your girlfriend to Grant Nicholas gigs on the off-chance he’ll play that tune you like by Feeder. He won’t, and his solo stuff is terrible.
Maybe that’s why when Everything Everything launched into ‘No Reptiles’ at this year’s Glastonbury and it was the best track of their set by far – despite being from an album that’d been released the day most people had arrived, kissing a fond farewell to any semblance of 3G – it felt pretty special. Usually by the time I hear a tune that good I’ve sat through twelve from a newer record I neither care about nor like. Except this was an unknown tune from an album only three days old. I’d done it. I’d broken through to the other side.
Fast forward to this week and we’re packed into Sheffield’s Leadmill to hear whether five months of ageing had refined the live incarnation of the album Get to Heaven. Long story short, it definitely had.
From opener ‘To The Blade’, which also opens GTH, there was a sense of complete ownership about the set: these are the songs we’re playing and you’ll really love how they sound. It was one of those rare gigs where the crowd were relatively quiet, not because they weren’t enjoying themselves but because no one wants to interrupt a vocal performance that flawless. Ultimately this was a huge plus point; it was nice not to have the fat fella next to you cradling three pints of fosters, attempting to leap through the octaves to keep up.
The first five tunes were relentless crowd pleasers (which was testing because I really needed a wee and ultimately had to sacrifice the second half of ‘Regrets’), before the set settled down into a journey through the back end of GTH. The album’s unsettling darkness – empathising with the type of resentment that could lead someone to committing an act of terrorism – wasn’t an issue, even in the light of recent horrific events in Paris. Rightly, the band made no apologies for what they’d created; a record which engages with the motivation behind the atrocities we encounter every day, but disguises its sinister roots in the poppiest melodies you’ll hear all year.
The aforementioned ‘No Reptiles’ was indisputably the highlight. People had been shouting for it all night and when the band came back out for an encore having donned their trademark uniforms, they finally obliged. The power of the crescendo running through the track was amplified tenfold by the enclosed acoustics before the night was closed with ‘Distant Past’ – the funkiest song about being a caveman I’ve ever encountered.
Once the lights came up it was simply a matter of crowding to the merch stand to buy your own replica Everything Everything costume, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds because of the huge queue. I’ve never known fans treat a band like a football team and want to wear their “kit” before, but I was hardly surprised. Maybe it’s because the orange-jockey look is in this year, or maybe it’s emblematic of this feeling that Everything Everything are right on the crest of a wave right now. Either way, who am I to judge? I bought two.
Photos by Dan Hess.