Everything Everything – Alexandra Palace – 10.03.18
Initially intended as the last date of their largest UK headline tour to date – but no longer the case due to The Beast from The East ruining their plans and earlier dates being rescheduled – Everything Everything played Alexandra Palace on Saturday. Now four albums in, their career continues its crescendo, from early indie/“math rock” roots to the outfit you see today: balancing a fine line between broad appeal and niche, unique musical craft/work.
Here are some of the reasons why Everything Everything live, just like Everything Everything on record, and Everything Everything everything really, is pure genius:
Despite enough upbeat numbers to ensure a setlist that doesn’t give the audience a chance to stop moving once the band blow open the Blast Doors (track two on tonight’s set), they open the show with A Fever Dream – the title track to their fourth album and this tour, showcasing its array of ear-pleasing treats. It’s a slow, piano-led introduction to the evening, highlighting the band’s pretty much genre-less musical output, frontman Jonathan Higgs’ vocal, and their songwriting – soon shuffling into an echoed, beat-heavy, hypnotic opener. Anyone questioning the decision should soak in the lyrics: “Don’t have a meltdown, it’s only a dream.”
As with their last tour, the band remain in uniform, and although Higgins’ getup is slightly more showy than his bandmates’, this makes sense as the spokesman and leader of his party’s ideologies. Ultimately, though, this is not a group of musicians but a band in the best sense, sharing a vision and executing it meticulously. If further proof is necessary, see the breakdowns of Ivory Tower or Run The Numbers – crystal clearly chaotic moments.
As the band continue to grow, so too do their audience, becoming more mixed with each new release. There are the #LADS, clearly present primarily for the bangers, and an older audience, more interested in the thinking behind the beats. The crowd blend well, though, both feeding from each others’ energy; while tracks like Desire and Regret are genius for mass-anthem singalongs (both essentially focus on one word, with the verses sometimes inaudible but always relatable), others (Zero Pharaoh) initially appeal to spectators, yet all are on board as the track reaches the expected climax. In short, Everything Everything are probably the closest thing to a modern day Pink Floyd that we have.
The evening’s setlist is genius, highlighting a band that continues to evolve. While many at this stage in their career can already begin to focus on early hits, slotting new tracks into an already established set, the breakdown of EE’s sees the focus on their most recent album, followed by the amount of tracks from Get To Heaven, then Arc and finally just one track (QWERTY Finger) from their debut. Don’t expect a Greatest Hits show anytime soon, and always be thankful for that…
As well as writing dance anthems (Can’t Do), and uplifting numbers (Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread, Don’t Try) the band have somehow managed to respectably introduce power anthems to their repertoire. It’s unlikely you’ll hear them at the next Ultimate Power night, but Good Shot, Good Soldier sees the crowd sway in unison, while someone on a friends’ shoulders waved an actual lighter in the air for White Whale. It official: Everything Everything have their Angels (or Wish You Were Here, maybe?).
Closer No Reptiles is not the obvious anthem to allow the audience to pour out in high-spirits, but it does just that. Hearing hoards of people under the Ally Pally roof chant “It’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair old enough to run, old enough to fire a gun…” echoes the choirs from Morrissey‘s gig the previous evening, with both acts unafraid to comment on politics via the medium of poetry and unorthodox anthems.
One line, during the band’s thanks to the audience: “We’d be nothing nothing without you.” Quick-witted, sharp and repeatable; it’s Everything Everything in a sentence.