Monday, 11 November 2013

Live Show - Everything Everything


Where: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Venue: O2 Academy

Not for the first time this year has the North East city found itself the host to Mancunian dominance of such excelling magnitude. On a part-chilly, part-refreshing, part-University Fresher's Friday night, Great Britain's 'other' phenominal Alternate act Everything Everything strutted their way fairly calmly and collectively into an enclosure that, to this fans' delight/shock, greeted them with little tussle of bodies and littler volumes of fluids (which in another time I would presume was alcohol) jettisoning into the smoke-clotted air of the stalls. Unaware however of the shift in behavioral occurrence that was to be my sardined surroundings, my mind was instead locked on the Manchester-based four-piece's equivicle delivery of material - the same material that has made Arc, their 2013 follow-up, one of rock's most in-tune yet cativating listens this year. Foals may be getting their turn to argue a greater case for excellency in the very same venue early next year, but for the time being this is the year of the Arc and the year of Everything...Everything. And as me and hundreds more quickly learned, so too it was to be the night for Mancunian talent.

Dutch Uncles were the warm-up act of the night; a bubbly, pop-fragrant grinner of the fellow Mancunian's equally as-early 2013 outing, Out of Touch In The Wild. The crowds weren't as gathered point-noted, and the focus may have been a little more casually displayed - band members and instruments presented in a kind of exhibitive sparseness - but that didn't stop Uncles' frontman Duncan Wallis lavishing the stagefloor (or rather his share of it) with some darting, lost-in-the-groove footwork. And carried forth by the charm and cheerfully upbeat march of pop-rock groovers Fester & Flexxin most notably, Uncles' selection of delights from Out of Touch... and Cadenza alike, wgenerated quite the observant shaker in what was a fairly upbeat opening act. Though judging from the vastness and indeed the enormity of its presence, you'd be forgive for thinking the thick gathering of smoke from off the stage prior to the main act, was ythe second of the night's warm-up's. By the time the hall (mandatorily) errupted into glee at the sight of Everything Everything taking position, the visage was already one of partial loss to the 'artistry' of overused smoke effects. No smell thank God, but given Arc's clear-cut, non-fantastical portioning of narration and context, let's just say the effect never really felt justified to Everything's take on sleek, well-delivered rock.

But like the flame pulling in the moths from all around, vocallist Johnathan Higgs' lush range of tone snaked and coiled its way through the barrage, only for us the crowd to get knocked back in a blinding surprise in opener Kemosabe as well as the stunning storm-in-a-teacup that is Torso Of The Week. We may only be two albums into the band's musical career, but at this point I was quite amazed to find the fab foursome pull it all out in the space of only the first twenty minutes of performance. A sprinkle of keyboard and guitar plucks thanks to Choice Mountain and we come to arguably Everything's most efforted and cherished of vocal deliveries that is Duet. And you can take away the glamour of a mixdesk or an enclosed music studio, and goodness knows how long in editing, but none of the track's monumentous delivery and harmonic marriage with its string backings, were lost. And taken the venue's limited space and sound engineering - which unfortunately didn't give the band the favoured treatment on this night - it didn't stop Higgs' impressive vocal delivery from meeting the standards that its album counterpart shares. A collective, interractive pass-around through debut favourites Schoolin' & MY KZ UR BF kept the momentum going and the crowd flinging limbs (and limbs only) to the dank air, even if by now the work of those behind the curtain - or in this case at the back of the hall - caused the finer tones and pitches to become drowned in a sea of unwanted relay.

Nevertheless, it was the spectacle of the closing sections that made up for the performance's middle-ground of less-exuberent performance and less-convincing slider placement at the mixer tables. And as is the case with all lead single deliveries, Photoshop Handsome saw not just the crowd, but the band too reenergized with a sense of fulfillment and even enjoyment from the track's kiddish vanity and spurt of vocals and guitar accompaniment - compulsory shout-backs of choruses and one-liners a plenty, which is always a good sign from the crowd. And with Don't Try, Everything Everything continued to translate their impressive display of emotion and musical prowess with a track brimming with slick grooves and a delivery demanding the feet to at least elevate from the ground at least once. But it was the send-off of firstly Radiant's shining guitar hooks but more satisfyingly (as the almighty drum is pulled to centre-stage before Higgs to a giddying whisper of 'is it...is it...oh please tell me it is...' amidst the crowd) the lyric-shouting invitation that is Cough Cough capping off a night not without its technical frown-upons, but fuelled by the connection between performer and audience. And if the joules were already high prior to Higgs taking lead on percussion, then the synchronous cries of 'yeh...so...ummm, wait a second...' at the very first strikes of bass drums, could have powered every one of the performance's seizure-inducing flashes of circular formations throughout.

But despite the fracturing RGB in the back or the eyes-shut focus of Jonathan Higgs up front, the one image that I took from this performance was the smiles and appreciation by the band to not just the cheers, but the detail to each and every track in its most sincere and intimate at moments, let alone its most compelling and energetic alike. I thank the crowd on that chilly Friday evening for not degrading the enjoyment into a duck-dodge what-if where one is constantly eye-balling liquid's likely trajectory from above. You can expect the mandatory clapping at the end of a song; so too you can guess right the music will not quite match the precise sonic and directional quality of the record's equivalent. Everything Everything may not have replicated what they captured on Arc, but for one night only, the expression and emotion was as close as one could possibly get. And with appreciative looks in-between caluclative focus, it's pleasing to see a band relish the path to establishing themselves as more-than-comortable live performers - built more importantly on the respect of their fans and followers. If the lack of soaked scalps and clumsy collissions was anything to go by, the audience were certainly unanimous in agreeing with that conclusion. A job well done.
~Jordan Helm

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