Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Editors | La Tulipe | Aug 1st

It's been over a week since I saw Editors up in Montreal but I'm just finally getting around to posting about it now. No particular reason except a lot of work, the Mountaineers' playoffs and a short trip with the family during the weekend.

Last Tuesday, I headed up to Montreal to catch the boys from Birmingham due their retro-new wave thing. I've been enjoying half of The Back Room and heard good things about their live show. So, I had fairly high expectations for the show. To the Editors' credit, they surpassed my hopes for the show.

I was meeting some friends up there for dinner before the show at the French bistro L'Express. So, since I would only be endangering my own life, I stopped along the shoulder of I-89 to take this picture of the higway sign that explains a large part of why this blog is called False 45th.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris stated that the border between Vermont and Canada would be the 45th parallel. However, the surveyors screwed up and laid the border north of the 45th parallel. Therefore, there are people in Vermont that are actually supposed to be Canadians; particularly the people in Derby Line and Newport; hence False 45th.

By the way, for those readers outside VT, a weird circumstance of the VT-Canada border is the opera house and library in Derby Line. The combination building sits right on the erroneous border. Therefore, the audience sits in the US while the stage and performers are in Canada. In the library, the books are in Canada while the checkout is in the US. Odd little factoid about the border.

Now, I need to learn how to build this picture into the template for this blog so it appears up top with the name of the blog. But that's for another day. Back to the show.

Despite my friends being an hour late for dinner, the food at L'Express was great. The hanger
steak with garlic butter was perhaps a bit heavy for a pre-show meal but so damn good. Because we were now an hour late, I thought we were going to miss the opening band, Lake Trout. However, when we got to La Tulipe at 10pm, they were just taking the stage. They must have added a third band to the bill.

Lake Trout sucked the suckiest of sucks. I can't believe they scored the opening slot for a hig-profile band like Editors. They basically felt like a band that was trying really hard to be a rock band but just can't write good songs. They tried a little of everything. Slow ballads...check. Jams...check. Searing guitar solos...check. Smoke machine coming out from the the drum set...check. Faux-hawk hairdo...check. Metal moments...check. Heavy echo...check. They threw everything at you but none of it stuck because they don't write good songs. It's as simple as that. Thankfully, they stopped after about 45 minutes and let the stagehands set up for Editors.

A little after 11pm, Editors took the stage. However, that's not an accurate description to say they "took the stage". Much too passive of a description. They basically exploded onto stage and pounced upon the audiences' consciousness. Loud, tight and rocking. I forget the exact set list but I think they got everyone going with "Someone Says" and "Blood" right out of the gates. No easing into the show with these guys. They start in the deep end with a cannonball splash of eletricity.

Indie rock doesn't have many "Rock Stars". To be a "Rock Star", you have to be a bit narcissistic to demand the audience's attention for every minute of a show. Plus, you have to have the charisma and sex appeal to pull it off. Indie rock tends to shun all of those qualities. However, that's not the case with Tom Smith, the lead singer of Editors. The guy is a "Rock Star". He has the energy of Jon Spencer, the freakiness of Joe Cocker and magnetism of Jim Reid. You don't want to take your eyes off of him during the entire set. Is he the best singer out there? Nope. Is he the best guitarist or keyboardist? Nope. Does he make for a fun show? You betcha.

The full setlist was:
Someone Says
Blood
All Sparks
You Are Fading
Fall
Weight of the World
Bullets
Bones
Camera (much better live than on the album)
Munich
Open Your Arms

For the encore, they finished as strong as they started. "Lights" and "Fingers in the Factories". Too great hooky rockers to leave you tapping the steering wheel the whole way home.

One comment on their light show. It did a good job of bathing the stage in dramatic lighting throughout the show. However, I felt like I was squinting for a large part of the show. What is the idea behind shining super high intensity bright lights at the crowd? I can't believe the band wants to see the audience...you know the old adage: The scariest part of show business is the front row. I doubt Editors wants to see the freaks in the crowd. So, do they think we like squinting like Magoo to protect our dilated pupils?

Actually, I have a second comment about the light show. I found it interesting that they had the identical lighting rig as Secret Machines had when they came through Burlington in 2005. If a band is trying to avoid constant comparisons to bands like Secret Machines and Interpol, they shouldn't be taking their light show with thme on tour. [By the way, I just noticed that Lake Trout opened for Secret Machines last month. So, there's another connection between the bands.]

The drive home was uneventful. By the way, the US border agents continue to be much less scrutinous than the Canadian agents. Canada asks me about a half dozen questions when I enter Canada but the US agents just pretty much want to know if I enjoyed the show. Then they wish you good night.

1 comment:

Ryan's Smashing Life said...

I live in Boston but grew up in VT and used to frequent shows in Canada and partake of the lower drinking age in my youth.

Your story made me remember the long drive to Montreal, which seems to take forever!I am sure the anticipation of the show helped on the way north.