It has been a long time since the English rock band Editors toured the United States. Near the end of 2015, the band released their fifth album, In Dream. A tour of the U.S., slated for early 2016, was unfortunately canceled due to an illness that sidelined frontman Tom Smith. Now the band is back with a new album, Violence (released 3/9) and fortunately, nothing kept the Editors from a run of west/east coast shows that ended May 18th at Philadelphia’s Theatre of Living Arts.
A growing crowd was treated to an excellent opening set from local band, Queue. Singer/guitarist Liv Price’s beautiful vocals blended well with tight grooves and intricate guitar work by Aida Blank. “Float Away” was described by Price as a song that best represented the band and one they are very proud of. Queue had won much of the crowd over by the end of their set and had many audience members shouting for another song.
Editors entered the stage amid the drone of introductory music, took their places, and began the show with the energetic and equally emotional “Hallelujah (So Low)” from Violence. The song was an early showcase of Smith’s rich baritone voice and his range into higher registers. The band turned their attention to older material with fan favorites “Ton of Love” and an up-tempo version of “Formaldehyde”, which is also familiar to Editors’ fans as a slower acoustic piece. Two more new songs, “Darkness at the Door” and the title track off the new record received responses from the crowd that was as enthusiastic as the ones for the older songs. Smith’s strong vocal range went from deep baritone to soaring falsetto during a wonderful version of “No Harm” from In Dream.
Editors traveled back to their first two albums for a string of songs. The pulsating “Blood” with searing guitar by lead guitarist Justin Lockley energized an already electrifying set. The energy level stayed high for “Munich” before settling into a slightly slower simmer with “In this Light and on this Evening” that was rich with dark brooding synthesizers and Smith on piano. The slow simmer continued with the beginning of “Nothingness”, also from the new album, but built into rolling boil and back again as the song soared and dipped with intensity. Smith sat back down at the keyboards for the “The Racing Rats”. The set ended with the catchy “Ocean of Night” that finished in a flourish with a pounding drum solo by Ed Lay.
Smith began a massive five-song encore with a solo acoustic version of the very moving “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors”. The rest of the band returned and they played two more songs from Violence, the stirring ballad “Cold” and the hook-laden “Magazine”. The band ramped the intensity back up with thunderous vocals from Smith and the driving rhythm of “Papillon” that had the crowd pulsating to the beat. The show ended with an epic version of the highly charged, and emotive “Marching Orders” from In Dream. This short tour of the States ended in Philadelphia, and the Editors are headed back to England before they launch an extensive tour of Europe.