I have been staring at a blank Word document for a good twenty minutes. Where do I begin when describing Editors’ New York City debut performance? It was one of those rare concerts when I could tell something very special was happening, that this was the beginning of something huge. Not another quirky indie band, but a group who could very well go all the way. We have been waiting for the next U2 or REM, for our next generation-defining rock & roll band. After the set I witnessed on Friday night, this band could very well be just that. For those still unfamiliar with Editors, this British quartet is comprised of frontman Tom Smith, guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, drummer Ed Lay and bassist Russell Letch.
Just getting in the Mercury Lounge, the location of their first of two NYC performances this past weekend, was no easy task. With a line down the block, the buzz surrounding this band is definitely impressive. After squeezing into the packed room, fighting my way up to the front, Editors took the stage promptly at 11pm. Wasting no time whatsoever, they rocketed straight into “Lights”, immediately sending the crowd into a sweaty frenzy. Within seconds, Smith proved that his band is much more than just another British buzz band, which these days are a dime a dozen. These guys are the real fucking deal, with the potential to become huge.
Keeping the momentum moving, “Bullets” was up next on the set list, with Smith’s piercing vocals soaring over the crowd as he bellowed, “would you fall down”. His stage presence is that of a polished rock star, backed by the seemingly effortless Edge-inspired guitar work of Urbanowicz. It was after this song that I began to hear more comparisons to U2, replacing those of Joy Division and Interpol that were circulating prior to the show. The tight musicianship that Editors displayed on Friday night were easily worthy of the U2 references, as this group is totally an arena rock band in the making.
This was no ordinary industry-filled night at the Mercury Lounge. The entire room was bouncing to the songs, singing along with “Blood” as if it was already a smash hit in the US. In fact, I was quite surprised to see such an enthusiastic crowd rather than the typical arms-crossed-emotionless music industry types that have that magical ability to damper the spirit of a show. The packed Mercury Lounge housed a very non-typical NYC concert that night, which came as a nice surprise. See, even cynics and music snobs can occasionally enjoy themselves.
For me, the highlight of the set was “Camera”, which overflowed with emotion and musicianship. It was then that I truly saw what is so special about this band. This was not a song from an overly hyped buzz band or another well-produced flavor of the week UK rock group. Lay’s precise time-keeping on the drums kept the song moving towards a stunning crescendo of guitars, which sent chills down my spine. This was the work of a band with talent, setting them apart from so many of the other “next big thing” artists out right now.
Ah yes, and then there was “Munich”. On record, it is a radio smash in the making. Live, Editors take it to a whole different level. This is the song that will put them on the map. For those lucky few who were able to attend the Mercury Lounge show, we will get to reminisce about that performance as we hear them rocket through “Munich” when they are playing Madison Square Garden.
Finally, a band with massive potential that has the songwriting talent and live chops to really go somewhere. Rock & Roll has been waiting for a band like this, and it looks like Editors could be the ones to fill that vacancy.