It is often the case with modern musicians that, due to over-primping and over-prepping in the sound studio, their music does not translate well from CD to stage. Whether it is an excessive use of the auto-tuner, the simple fact that the snare cannot quite be picked up on a live set, or the fact that certain acts are too preoccupied to perform properly on stage, there is often something missing with the real deal.
I therefore wonder to myself why I love Everything Everything. Their sound is so ambitious and layered that I will admit to harbouring one or two doubts as to whether the first of two sold-out shows at the Kentish Town Forum wouldn’t leave me in the same state of awe that I feel when listening to their two albums. Oh, how wrong I was.
The Manchester-based four-piece began with Undrowned from their second album Arc, released earlier this year. The disarming synth slowly turned into a strong crescendo, showcasing EE’s wonderful ability to change emphasis within a song while keeping the audience of all ages tapping along to their galloping beats; the hallmark of so many of their songs.
…punchy new numbers…
With the crowd suitably warmed up, the band settled into their set, interspersing energetic, punchy new numbers, such as recent single Kemosabe which instigated a singalong, with old favourites like the instantly recognisable MY KZ UR BF, the jittery and skittish 2010 single from Mercury-nominated debut LP Man Alive.
The middle portion of the set contained quite a few slower, melodic songs, which allowed Higgs’s pitch perfect vocal range and falsetto to come to the fore, especially in Choice Mountain – “I’m older, I’m colder, I’m not commin’ good – a cherub in the ashtray” – . Higgs admitted he had vocal lessons ahead of 2013’s live shows, such is the demanding nature of the notes he aims to hit, and the way he met each one with such precision showed the extra tuition paid off.
…that had the audience clamouring desperately for an encore…
The band then hit back with pithy favourite Photoshop Handsome, which so effectively utilises the backing vocals of guitarist Alex Robertshaw and bassist Jeremy Pritchard (“Airbrush! What have you done with my father, why does he look like a carving?”). The set ended with their most recent single, the R&B tinged Don’t Try, which was extended with a brilliant rock-driven outro that had the audience clamouring desperately for an encore.
They duly obliged, Higgs humbly expressing his amazement and gratitude to play in such a prestigious venue in front of a baying crowd, and gifted the audience with Radiant.
…arguably the single of this summer…
Cough Cough, their most famous song and arguably the single of this summer, had the crowd going wild from its first incisive drumbeat, singing along to every word, which was maintained through final song Weights. The gig ended amidst a barrage of strobe lights and the screams of an immensely satisfied crowd, who had just witnessed a band so inventive and captivating in the studio bring their gusto to the stage with great aplomb.