Last night, I saw one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen in my life. I think I first got taken to a gig by my Dad, when I was around 14 or so. It was Gordon Giltrap and he rocked. So, I’ve got around thirty years of gig memories under my belt and now, thanks to Everything Everything, I have a shiny, perfect diamond to add to that stash.
I felt a little sad that I went on my own, I’d got two tickets but thanks to various vagaries of corporeal existence, no-one was there to hold my lonely bear hand. But, having got up to the front, I got chatting to two very friendly lads about EE and they were as fanatical as I am. Isn’t that great, bonding with total strangers at a gig?
EE came on and from the very first beautiful grin from frontman Jonathan Higgs, I knew my love for this band was built on truth and passion. If you’ve heard any EE at all, you’ll know that it’s hardly bog-standard, post-Arctic Monkeys blokey indie. EE are as vivacious and playful as all those wearing-your-coat-inside fuckers are insipid and dead. But that’s on records – can they really translate those intricate productions into an inevitably more sparse live presence?
There’s a special kind of magick that happens at some gigs. Depeche Mode’s ‘Black Celebration’ show at the NEC, East Village at Trent Poly, Pixies at Rock City, Asian Dub Foundation at The Waterfront, Red Animal War at the Vic, Butcher Boy at Indietracks, Death Cab at Rock City, Cats On Fire whenever, Elizabeth Allo Darlin here, these are all performances I’m going to remember the rest of my life. Now I have to add EE’s show last night to that list. It was that transcendent. As a gigging musician myself, I can spot when a band is even a teensy bit on autopilot. EE weren’t, they were totally alive and in the moment and, as a result, so were we.
‘Final Form’ started and I crossed my fingers, hoping one of my utter faves would come to life. I shouldn’t have worried, EE made the song fly and sing and soar, I heard a side of it that isn’t in the recording. I was singing along, as were most of us, and Jonathan was grinning like a loon at our devotion and recognition. And dedication – it’s not as if EE have the easiest lyrics to remember, dense with imagery as they are. I really can’t understand how EE managed to make the songs bigger than they are on the record?
I’m not pretending to be an old-school fan here, I only heard about them through the re-release of ‘KZ’ this year, I missed out on it when it first came out last October. I suspect that single has gathered them a new fanbase who’ve devoured the album as hungrily as they did the lopsided pop of ‘KZ.’ So when it came on, there was a roar from the crowd and we all shouted along to the rhomboid, jazz-funk lyrics. It was wonderful. I think EE were taken aback at both the size of their audience (“Last time we played here, there were twelve people here!”) and our mad love for them. In truth, they deserved the adulation.
They went off, we demanded more and they came back and encored with two more songs. To be truthful, I can’t remember which ones they were, I was just too emotional by then but I think one was ‘Suffragette’ as I remember the rocky bits really… rocking. EE were doubled over, laughing and careening off each other and we were all just fucking in love with this band of superheroes, saving our planet from The Drab.
Walking back to the car, a bloke walked by whistling the whistly bit from ‘Schoolin.’ The right coda for a night that is going to be nailed in my head forever. Gigs like last night’s make me feel privileged to be alive. Love you EE!