Man Alive, the debut album of Mancunian foursome Everything Everything, was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2010, and it’s almost criminal that second effort Arc didn’t earn them another. It did, however, peak at a respectable number 5 in the UK album chart and it’s safe to say that they have achieved wide critical acclaim for their ambitious sound. Now, on their second tour of the year, the band find themselves returning to home ground for two sold out shows at The Ritz.
If I’m perfectly honest, I did have a few misconceptions as to what to expect from an Everything Everything gig. I had seen a small section of one of their festival sets earlier in the year, but failed to take any notice as to the type of fans they had acquired so far. On arrival at The Ritz, I therefore find myself slightly taken aback at the vast age range and groups of people here tonight. Standing at the bar I turn to see a middle aged couple to my left chatting away to a thirty something lone ranger – who has seen the band eight times before – and to my right a group of youthful looking “hipsters” who I’m quite sure aren’t old enough to be drinking snakebite and black. Making my way through the sea of attendees of this sold out show, I also come across countless pairs of teenage girls and a surprising number of families. For the majority of the people here, I can only imagine that the single common interest they share is this one band – and they are all certainly eager to hear them play.
Everything Everything take to the stage and open their set with Undrowned. The audience listen intently and lights bounce off their heads as they nod along to the electronic beat. The track provides a strong build up which helps warm up the crowd and get things rolling effectively. Things really begin to heat up as the band lead straight into QWERTY Finger. Frontman Jonathan Higgs works the crowd and bodies can be seen moving in all directions in a rush of madness. The four piece keep spirits running high with Torso Of The Week and fans show great enthusiasm as they sing along with Higgs’ pitch perfect falsetto vocals.
MY KZ, UR BF is recognised from the first few notes. The band prove to be musically tight with impeccable timing and great onstage presence. Dancing continues throughout Choice Mountain as figures from every direction pull shapes in slow motion to the steady rhythm. Duet proves itself to be a definite crowd favourite with a colossal singalong, resulting in Higgs letting the audience take control of the lyrics as he simply exclaims “Nice!”. Vocal harmonies throughout are tip top and emphasise the bands expansive range of vocal abilities. Drums and bass help start a monstrous clap along during the bridge, inevitably leading to a magnificent climax and a mass of cheers.
Slower number NASA Is On Your Side once again demonstrates Higgs’ vocal capacity. Avid fans can be seen belting out the lyrics alongside him, phones lit up and raised in the air – although these are barely visible amongst another epic lighting display, a coupling feature to the majority of their songs. “He’s got a beautiful voice. It’s so dreamy!”, notes the woman stood next to me – and her boyfriend agrees, “Yeah, it’s tingling!”. As if with the flick of a switch, Everything Everything have the floor bouncing once again with a jubilant rendition of early hit Schoolin’. Yet another audience favourite, Kemosabe proves to be just as enjoyable, as fans can be seen dancing zealously from the front barrier to the back of the balcony bar. A wide grin spreading across his face, Higgs is clearly in his element as the audience once again take over the deliverance of the lyrics.
The rest of the band briefly leave the stage to allow Higgs to perform solo, offering us a beautiful, yet understated, take on Tin (The Manhole). Although not the most interactive of bands, Higgs and co do come across as more humble than others. “I never thought we would sell this place out… TWICE! It’s a crazy time. Thank you very much for coming to see us and making our dreams come true. Thank you very much.” As a band that have been persistently trying over the years, it’s plain as daylight how much they really do appreciate the well deserved support they are now receiving.
The stop and start energy of first single Suffragette Suffragette gets the audience riled up once again and the floor bounces to the rocked-up guitar riffs. Energy is thriving both on and offstage during Photoshop Handsome – a track that certainly gains an extra lease of life when performed live. Higgs exclamation of “Manchester, we’ve got one more song for you!” is met with a mass of booing from the crowd, but reactions swiftly change as the band begin to close their main set with Don’t Try, their latest single and closing track of most recent album Arc.
Everything Everything return to the stage to offer up a three track encore. Radiant is a big anthemic pleaser which has fans singing along and swaying to the beat from the onset. Biggest hit Cough Cough creates an absolutely electric atmosphere from the first decisive drumbeat, which continues through to final song, Weights. The evening ends with an explosion of strobe lights, fans clambering onto shoulders in the middle of a mosh pit and beer sodden hair – and let’s be honest, a great gig just wouldn’t be the same without it!
All words by Alana Turk. More of Alana’s writing for Louder Than War can be found here.