Everything Everything – The Duchess – Friday 14th September 2012

Apart from playing in Coventry the previous night, the show at The Duchess was Everything Everything’s only gig in six months. This set them up to disappoint or excite with a showcase of material from incoming album ‘Arc’. They certainly had a large crowd to impress with well over 200 people in attendance.

Slightly later than billed, the headliners took to the stage after the promising Post War Years. I last saw Everything Everything at Leeds Festival in 2010. Even though I knew very little of them then, they blew me away with their technical ability, pitch perfect harmonies and an infectious enthusiasm for playing live. The same band took to the stage at The Duchess but something was missing.

Opening with a new song, the crowd waited patiently to get excited about something they knew the words to. The band then dropped the big single from their last album “MY KZ YR BF” – this was a strange move in setlist organisation and was the first in a number of questionable song placement issues that plagued the gig. The audience lapped it up but a nagging suspicion of ‘where now?’ lingered in my head. Bass player Jerry soon answered my question by declaring that the band was going to play “a lot of new stuff”. This was a lie; they played pretty much their entire debut album ‘Man Alive’ and about 3 new songs.

The first album did have some very solid indie-pop songs and the band performed them very proficiently, but the gig lacked any sense of passion, intensity or excitement that comes from a live show. Even great songs like “Leave the Engine Room” seemed as if the band had just pressed play (they literally did on laptops providing a substantial amount of accompaniment) and stuck safely to the plan of playing a gig without doing anything special. “Schoolin” also fell flat because of a lack of innovation or invention.

The band disappeared for the encore and returned to let the crowd know that it was the longest gig they have ever played. This partially explained the stop-start nature of their set list, constantly mixing old and new songs. They continued to disappoint, as the crowd shouted for debut album highlight “Weights” they decided to end with a new song – no one knew the words, no one danced and when the band shuffled off I could overhear more than one person apologise to their reluctant companion – “I thought they would be a lot better than that”. So did I man-wearing-a-fleece, so did I.

Joni Roome