Ahead of their slot on the Avalanche Stage at this year's Download Festival, Naomi Penn talks to WSTR frontman Sammy Clifford about the band's exciting new plansWritten by Naomi Penn on 26th May 2018
Live Review: Everything Everything
Thom Dent reviews a hometown gig from Manchester altpop outfit Everything Everything, showcasing some sparkling new material
If there’s one thing that bodes well for a good gig, it’s walking into a good gig venue. And the Albert Hall in Manchester is one such place – a cathedrallike cavern of a room, high-ceilinged and, when I enter at least, copiously bathed in a spectrum of light refracted through the stained-glass windows (for further gushing about the Manchester Albert Hall, see my King Gizzard live review from June 22nd). Manchester itself is a city filled with a constant creative atmosphere – from the empty shell of the Hacienda to the David Bowie mural in Stevenson Square, every street corner seems to echo with a soundbite of musical history.
It’s not just Manchester’s rich musical past that echoes through its streets, however – the beat goes on, the city still seems to have so much more to give in its endless supply of endlessly creative artists. One such group are Everything Everything, who emerged as a critically-acclaimed bunch of boiler suit-wearing altpop weirdos back in the late noughties and have continued to gain traction ever since. By now, of course, the band are beginning to reach household name status, their last album in particular bringing with it a significant amount of radio airplay for singles such as ‘Distant Past’ and ‘Regret’. In Manchester at least, they’re rapidly becoming hometown heroes amongst the alternative, New Order-loving old guard.
“The best of the new tracks is the immersive and icy ‘A Fever Dream’, which sprawls its way from a piano-led slowjam into an elongated chilly groove of an outro
Tonight the band are kicking off a micro-tour of the UK, with the intention of road testing some new material from upcoming fourth record A Fever Dream. The vibe inside the Albert Hall is, as ever, electric, as fans wait with bated breath to hear what Everything Everything have come up with in their rehearsal room. It’s packed out from a relatively early point in the night, and as I make my solemn advance towards the stage to find a decent standing point I find the crowd dense and unhelpful (nothing against the people of Manchester of course – I reason that everyone wants to be at the front). I expect the crowd to spread out a bit more once the music starts, but as the band finally take to the stage the room simply swells with excitement. It’s a slightly subdued start however, as the band open with unknown new track ‘Night of the Long Knives’. While the audience is quiet and receptive, onstage the music is loud, punchy and colourful.
Naturally, a selection of gems from Everything Everything’s back catalogue are aired - the pulsating ‘Kemosabe’, the sombre carnival of ‘Get to Heaven’ and a stupendous rendition of ‘No Reptiles’, with which they close the show. The latter in particular feels particularly poignant in light of the recent trauma the city has undergone, the deafening yells of ‘just give me this one night’ haunting as they crescendo, voiced by an entire audience, through the room.
Nonetheless, tonight is primarily a celebration of the future, and while the show’s most powerful moments may have come in the midst of the crowdpleasers, a fair portion of the setlist is taken up naturally by the new stuff. And forgive me if I’m wrong, having only heard it once, but my does the new stuff sound good. ‘Desire’ is a radio-friendly little doozy, with a glam rock backbone, lurid keyboards and a nasally guitar riff – elsewhere, the dogmatic lyrics of ‘Ivory Tower’ and the incessant speed of ‘Run the Numbers’ seem equally promising. The best of the new tracks though is the immersive and icy ‘A Fever Dream’, which sprawls its way from a piano-led slowjam into an elongated chilly groove of an outro. Totally not radio-friendly, and totally one of the best tracks Everything Everything have ever written.
“Manchester itself is a city filled with a constant creative atmosphere ... every street corner seems to echo with a soundbite of musical history
Setlist-wise, this gig obviously won’t have been for everyone. While the new material certainly shows a lot of potential, its inclusion meant the sacrifice of not only deeper cuts from Get to Heaven, but of certified big hits such as breakout single ‘MY KZ UR BF’, or the endlessly fun ‘Photoshop Handsome’. For a hometown gig, there was a surprisingly low amount of vintage ‘see if you remember this one’-type moments (besides the token inclusion of debut single ‘Suffragette Suffragette’, and a leftfield rendition of Arc hidden gem ‘Choice Mountain’).
However, it’s unfair to hold the band to such obvious estimations. The show was announced and advertised as a road test, a chance for them to flex their muscles and showcase some of their latest work in front of a faithful audience – and, in that respect, it’s very hard to fault them. The new stuff sounds great, highly worth catching when the band inevitably return to fully tour this latest record. Above all, Everything Everything remain an electrifying live outfit, and one of the most exciting acts you can buy a ticket for.
A Fever Dream is out August 18th on RCA Records. Everything Everything play at the Eden Project on July 11th.