The vision of half a dozen St Etienne fans waving Foxbase Alpha placards near the stage of the Obelisk arena confuses at first, until some sympathetic soul obviously whispers in their ear that they’re at the wrong part of the site, and they embarrassingly shuffle off towards the Uncut arena. For this is the hour of Editors, who may employ similar synth-like keyboards to Bob Stanley’s crew, but for less summery purposes.
There’s a moody serious to Editors, as they emerge almost unnoticed, their dark clothing disappearing into the barely lit stage, like GQ makeover goth camouflage. With scant verbal acknowledgement of the crowd throughout, Tom Smith leads the band through a series of staccato twisted anthems that can’t help but recall the likes of Joy Division or a particularly grumpy incarnation of Echo and the Bunnymen.
Smith’s vocals have previously (and frequently) drawn comparisons with Ian Curtis’s but his style seems more mannered, contrived even, and they’re ultimately the culprit of the group’s downfall. The crowd receive them with enthusiasm, but there’s little in the way of specialness in Editors’ music; it’s powerful, expertly-played, but lacks that unidentifiable spark to project them onto a higher plain than any one of a dozen bands who’ve climbed the same ladder at the same pace over the last five years.
A third album, In This Light And On This Evening, is due in September, but tonight’s set concentrates on its two predecessors. “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” manages to stand out, the lyric suggesting a humanity and insight that’s hard to come by across the rest of their cookie-cutter indie rock selections.