I Like Trains / Editors – Heineken Music Hall - 01/05/2010

Now, I don’t often wonder what Editors fans think. Why should I, outside of a vague bafflement as to why they think Editors are actually any good…

Yet again Incendiary found themselves on the guest/press list for an Editors gig, despite the fact that we had no real intention of reviewing them. There are voices & views enough for the Editors. No; we were there to see I Like Trains who had seemingly landed this support slot out of the blue. I Like Trains have slowly wormed their way into Incendiary’s consciousness and regard over the last year or so. To be honest we weren’t convinced with their early records, everything seemed a little too precocious and mannered, and well, a little too formulaic. But after a blistering Haldern performance and repeated listens to the excellent new single Sea of Regrets the band have officially become a Good Thing in our eyes, hence our attendance at an otherwise avoidable gig…

Once inside the huge, soulless gym that is the Heineken Music Hall we found that we were in time to see Airship literally walk off the stage. Opinion amongst the early crowd seemed favourable and we’ll catch them at some point I’m sure. Presently, I Like Trains shuffled on, looking like a bunch of undertakers out on a jolly. Their line up was bolstered by a keyboardist wearing casual gear, a visual demarcation that proved to be a just one when said gentleman indulged in a spot of hands in the air clapping later in the set…

This however was by no means the worst thing about the show: that prize went to the muted sound which threatened to put a lid on Incendiary’s expectations. Now, we’re not into being blasted off our feet, but as this gig aired lots of the Trains’ newer tracks – which are much more delicate and accessible in their structure – we felt that they should at least be given the sound levels they deserve, if only to put said tracks through their paces. As it was they sounded too clean, too soft, too… well, pleasing. Where was the sand in the Vaseline? It was a shame because all the new songs have great potential, and the opener When We Were Kings was (is) magnificent; a truly romantic and multi-dimensional lament, driven by swooping, chiming guitar runs. And lord only knows how it would all have sounded with a bit more sonic contrast. Luckily someone decided that kowtowing to Editorial demands was off the agenda, and the db levels went up for Terra Nova and Sea of Regrets, which both delivered in spades and had me musing on whether I Like Trains provide the perfect soundtrack to the Victorian Gothic novel.  

Afterwards we stuck around to see the climax of the Editors show, an ending which - we were told by those who had witnessed it in Antwerp - would be worth seeing. We entered the cavernous hall to see Editors run through one of their mid-tempo numbers (lament, mid paced, normally about “feelings”) and a fast one (vague pop-art imagery, pedal bashing and stentorian drumming) and waited for the ending. Suddenly flames leapt up at the front and illuminated the four Editors, each on their separate mini podium. This fiery “assault” made the band look like four kebab spits being grilled in order to feed a ravenous crowd. I suppose the metaphor wasn’t lost on us, but there again, it made a lot of people happy so who are we to sneer?

PS: Oh to be blissfully ignorant… Now, I don’t often wonder what Editors fans think. Why should I, outside of a vague bafflement as to why they think Editors are actually any good… Still, I need wonder no longer because one fan decided to tell us what he thought, both about himself and his love for Editors at length, during the course of the gig he’d paid his hard earned to watch. Apparently – unlike I Like Trains, who, (in his gloriously unfettered opinion), “only make music to listen to” – Editors make music to “relax and jump around to”. Make of that what you will.