When a band sells out a show within 60 seconds, you’d expect it to be a world-beating behemoth along the calibre of Coldplay, U2 or The Rolling Stones. Not Editors. Back in their home country of England, the Tom Smith-fronted quintet are at best able to sell out theatre-sized venues, yet when you cross the channel and venture through Holland and Belgium, you’ll find it to be a different story. Here, Editors are one of the biggest bands ever, selling out arenas and headlining festivals. Yesterday, the five-piece released their hotly anticipated new album In Dream, celebrating release day with a launch show at Den Haag’s intimate, 1,100-capacity Paard van Troje. Support came from Elliot Moss.
From the moment that doors opened dead-on 7pm, people streamed into the venue trying to get good spaces for what everyone knew would be a memorable show. Editors’ last three shows in Holland were namely all massive – supporting Muse in 2010 (for 60,000 people), selling out the Ziggo Dome in 2013 (for 17,000 people) and sub-headlining Arctic Monkeys at Pinkpop 2014 (for 50,000 people). Therefore it should come as no surprise that all 1,100 tickets for last night’s show sold out within one minute. This packed crowd became an advantage for support act Elliot Moss, whose danceable indietronica (along the lines of Radiohead and Interpol) garnered mixed reactions from the full room. Some people loved it and took in the atmosphere by dancing wildly, whereas others stood and talked amongst themselves. This didn’t faze Moss, though, who still pulled off a tight set with intricate percussion, deep basslines and catchy vocal tones. The set predominantly featured songs from 2013’s Highspeeds, including the title track, Slip and I Can’t Swim. Moss may well be one to watch, although the extent to which he’ll become big currently remains a mystery. There’s still a lot of growth to go, but the potential is definitely there.
Half an hour later, the packed out Paard van Troje got exactly what they waited all week for (the show was announced on Tuesday) when the lights dimmed and Editors slowly took to the stage. No Harm opened the set, having also been the first song to be released from In Dream. Its bubbling arpeggio intro and Tom Smith’s demure vocal tone set the scene for an epic opener, with each band member taking to the stage one by one throughout. As the song exploded into a cacophony of electronica, it was already evident that Editors currently more on top of their game than ever before. 2013’s Sugar, from last record The Weight of Your Love, followed in a mixture of dirty basslines, jangly guitars and anthemic vocals. On Sugar, Russel Leetch was the star of the show with his powerful bassline, one which perfectly accompanied Ed Lay’s sharp drumming and Smith’s huge chorus. “It breaks my heart to love you” sang the frontman, before 1,1000 voices sang the exact same thing back to him. Early breakthrough hit Munich went on to satisfy the real hardcore fans, giving them a rare glimpse of the old, indie rock Editors of ten years ago. Munich’s melody line is surely a classic by now, especially if it’s based on how the crowd reacted to it last night. Fellow old track Blood followed, before An End Has a Start saw the whole room clap along in sync. Its machine gun-like hits the listener head on, before the rest of the song follows suit with anthemic measures employed.
The whole show leant heavily on new album In Dream, with seven of its ten songs featuring throughout the 18-song show. Two of these, Forgiveness and recent single Life is a Fear, both featured one after the other. The former utilized similar elements to those presented on 2013’s The Weight of Your Love, such as more noticeable guitar lines and big choruses. The latter, however, is now the full embodiment of what Editors circa 2015 have become – electronic, catchy and dynamic. A sprawling synth melody held the whole track together, and it certainly helped the track sound even better live than it already sounds on record. “Life is a fear of falling” declared Smith during the chorus, one which demonstrates Smith’s newfound love of falsetto. Although it’s a rather recent track, the whole crowd sang along loudly and treated it like an old friend, much in the way that they treated 2009’s Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool. Its fuzzy opening riff and doomy outro were each held together by a massive mid-section which come straight out of Editors’ most experimental period. It was a period in which they somewhat ditched guitars and learned to utilize synthesizers and interesting sounds to their best abilities. Six years later, and the band are still pulling it off better than ever.
What followed was a succession of three songs which demonstrated the evolution of Editors – standout hit The Racing Rats, 2013’s powerful Formaldehyde and new track Salvation. The Racing Rats will forever be a track which features during an Editors show, simply because of how receptive the audience are when it comes along. From its opening riff to euphoric mid-section, The Racing Rats is surely one of Editors’ best tracks. The more straightforward Formaldehyde was a clear anthemic highlight of 2013’s The Weight of Your Love, whereas new cut Salvation is a menacing, doom-laden piano banger. Repeated chants of “Salvation!” are interspersed throughout the haunting track, with Smith very much on top of his tenor game. A Ton of Love went on to make for an absolute highlight of the evening, something very much down to its anthemic chant of, “Desire! Desire!” Its chorus is an absolute stadium-ready banger, with there not actually being much wrong with the track at all. Just like with The Racing Rats, A Ton of Love may well be one of Editors’ best ever tracks. New track All the Kings made for a highlight, its live version being very much upbeat and powerful. The main set came to a close on 2013’s Nothing, which brought the first part of the show to a euphoric close. On record, Nothing is a stripped back ballad, yet live it’s turned into a cacophony of happiness and euphoria. “Every conversation within you starts a celebration within me” declared Smith, his voice sounding jubilant and happier than ever before as he energetically bounded about stage once more. Despite being ill (he was absent for a 12pm meet and greet; you could also see this onstage, as he was drinking warm tea between songs), he showed no signs of his ailment holding him back.
For the encore, Smith took to the stage by himself armed with an acoustic guitar. As the room fell silent, he put on a solo rendition of popular track Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors. Hearing the song stripped of all its bombast was quite special to experience, especially with the whole room singing along word for word. When the rest of the band returned, they kicked straight into another song from In Dream – Ocean of Night. On record it’s essentially a piano song with subtle backing and a relatively large chorus, yet live it’s more danceable and powerful. Its big outro led straight into the highlight of the whole evening – Papillon. This one’s probably the most well-known Editors track out there, coming straight out of their first electronic phase in 2009. Its jumpy electronic melodies and precise percussive beats are extremely infectious, inciting a small moshpit during its extra live outro. Papillon was the moment where everything came together and everyone went absolutely wild, making it an absolutely unforgettable highlight. The show closed on an emotional Marching Orders which, at nearly eight minutes long, made for an absolute behemoth of an ending. “And even though you fucked up, there’s still the makings of a dreamer in you” sang Smith, his voice underpinned by subtle electronics. During its climax, the whole room sang loudly as Smith projected his vocals one last time – “trying to give more!” wailed the frontman. Once the song exploded, it was made extremely clear that Marching Orders is a perfect closer. Give the band a bigger room and this song will surely be aided by confetti, streamers and the like. As the band properly left the stage, people rushed down to the merch table to for an impromptu meet and greet with the band. That the whole foyer was packed with baying fans said enough about the way Editors have become so massive in Holland. Tonight’s show wasn’t just a run of the mill practice for their upcoming tour; rather, it was another signification that Editors may well be one of the biggest bands in Holland right now. What’s next? The rest of the world.
In Dream is out now via PIAS. Stream it here.