Jan 29, 2023
By Dom Gourlay
Photography by Juliana Loveluck
With a back catalogue consisting of seven critically acclaimed albums recorded and released over the best part of two decades, Editors have become something of a British institution. Arguably one of the most consistent bands of the 21st century, both in the studio and live. Editors continued success is testament to them never standing still or repeating the same formula twice. Instead, they’ve continually challenged both themselves and their audience with new ideas and sonics culminating in last year’s seventh long player EBM.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that they’ve chosen another band also constantly evolving to open for them on this tour in The KVB. Although not exactly a new band in the most pedantic sense of the word, The KVB have come a long way since 2011’s Into The Night EP introduced them to an unsuspecting music world. The duo – keyboard player Kat Day and guitarist Nicholas Wood – initially made their names on the psychedelic rock scene and its this grounding that’s honed their stage show into becoming one of the most compact and efficient on the UK live circuit right now. Playing to a backdrop of elegant and colourful visuals for which Day is also responsible, they’re an exciting proposition even at this teatime hour on a Wednesday evening. Taking influence from the likes of Suicide, (Recurring era) Spacemen 3 and OMD among others, The KVB transgress both guitar and electronic environments with consummate ease. While the likes of “Sunrise Over Concrete” and “Unité” off most recent album Unity blend well with the likes of “Always Then”, the title track of 2012’s debut. Its the pulsating “World On Fire” that sets the tone for the set and ultimately ends up stealing the show. While half an hour isn’t necessarily long enough for The KVB to unleash the full potential of the repertoire, it’s an appetising taster for anyone previously unaware of their output.
For Editors, Nottingham has become something of a second home over the years, and in particular Rock City. So, it goes without saying tonight’s show was completely sold out long before this evening. Having progressed and developed their sound fusing more experimental electronic influences, it makes for an interesting setlist hearing the band position the old with the new and vice versa. Last year’s Blanck Mass collaboration EBM saw them fully embrace the techno and industrial overtures that had permeated many of their previous works so the album was heavily represented here, with seven of the record’s nine songs appearing in the setlist.
The dramatic couplet of “Heart Attack” and “Strawberry Lemonade” make for a powerful opening gambit in a live setting, aided and abetted by former single “Karma Climb” which is the closest Editors have come in recent years to bridging the gap between old and new. “Kiss” and “Strange Intimacy” make welcome appearances towards the tail end of the set while “Silence” picks up the pace once more after Tom Smith’s soothing solo segment that sees “Nothing” off 2013’s The Weight of Your Love and “Lights” off 2005 debut The Back Room receive the acoustic treatment. Meanwhile, “Picturesque” stands admirably in the set before paving the way for a rarely aired rendition of “The Boxer” off 2009’s In This Light And On This Evening that ensures said album is revisited by yours truly later in the week.
One thing Editors possess in abundance are big hits that stand the test of time so while the likes of “Blood” and “Smokers Outside The Hospital” are casually despatched to the delight of all and sundry, its two of their earliest compositions that really bring the house down. Both “Fingers In The Factories” and “Bullets” still sound as fresh and invigorating today as they did some seventeen years ago, taking this listener back to July 2005 and Nottingham Trent University where Editors shared a stage with the late, lamented ¡Forward, Russia!
“Violence” and “No Harm” both raise the dramatic element tenfold, the former’s brooding intensity providing a perfect gateway into the latter’s defiant lament. Saving the biggest guns for the encore, “An End Has A Start” and “Munich” are post-punk perfection before a triumphant “Papillon” brings tonight’s proceedings to a close. It goes without saying Editors are like a fine wine that gets better with age, and with their creative juices still in overdrive one can only behold at what they may deliver in the future.