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Festival Buzz: Rejuvenated Editors Set For Reading And Leeds

Thursday, 22 August 2013 Written by Huw Baines

Festivals can be something of a hard sell, on both sides of the barricade, but every so often something clicks. In 2012 that was the case for Editors.

The indie giants will turn out at Reading and Leeds this weekend, a matter of months after releasing their fourth full-length, 'The Weight Of Your Love'. It's their first without Chris Urbanowicz, the guitarist who lent so much to their sound, and represents a new start for the band, who now take to the stage as a five-piece following the introduction of Justin Lockey, formerly of Yourcodenameis:milo, and Airship's Elliott Williams.

A year ago, as their future sat undecided, one show changed the way they felt about Editors and set them on the path towards what would eventually become 'The Weight Of Your Love'.

“We were reignited by playing a massive festival with the new guys last summer, and that was the catalyst for us getting together as a band with the new members and writing the record with each other,” drummer Edward Lay said. “We weren't sure that was going to happen. We just sort of borrowed them from their other projects for a show and it worked out so well.

“This summer we've had some of the greatest festival experiences we've ever had. Last weekend at Lowlands was one of the top three shows that we've ever done. It was just mind-blowing how the chemistry on stage just felt so right and the reaction from the crowd was brilliant.”

The release of the album coincided nicely with Editors' Glastonbury set, leaving them to introduce their new material on one of music's biggest stages. Luckily, though, they've been around that particular block already.

“We've had experience of it before, we did exactly the same release date on 'An End Has A Start', the day after Glastonbury,” Lay said. “It's actually quite good because festivals are the perfect place to re-engage people. You've got people there who won't necessarily know our music, maybe they've been dragged into the field by friends who heard our last record. It's a good motivation for us to try and win some new fans.

“We've always been a gigging band, whether that's at festivals or not doesn't really trouble me. We just love to get out there and play as many shows as possible. That's how we've always stuck to our task. That's how we've gained popularity in most of the countries we've been in, just by going back and impressing people as we go along.”

At Reading and Leeds this weekend they will tackle the thorny issue of pruning an ever-expanding setlist to meet festival time constraints. That means that we can expect a short, sharp burst of the hits from Lay and friends, while die-hard fans will be treated to a more eclectic experience at their Edinburgh show on Saturday, which is squeezed nicely between the twin festival pillars.

“We haven't been allowed much time to play, to be perfectly honest,” he said. “So, songs that people know, that's the remit for this weekend at Reading and Leeds. Inbetween the two dates we've got our own show at the Edinburgh Picturehouse so we're going to have to change our mindset three times this weekend.

“We've got quite a lot of songs now. We've got four records' worth and all the b-sides from those. Our back catalogue is pretty immense so we do like to change it around a little bit, choose some songs that people might not be too aware of. It's a pleasurable thing to do your own shows but at the festivals you've got to go for the jugular, play songs that people know and try and introduce them to your new record.”

Lay is also keen to get out and about at the festivals, with one particular industrial metal titan bleeping on his radar and washing away some of the fatigue that comes with a summer touring Europe's muddy fields.

“You do lose your drive to go to 30 or 40 in a summer, it's quite tiring,” he said. “But there's no other way to go and discover new bands like you do at a festival. Or, reacquainting yourself with old bands. We haven't played in the UK a lot for four years, so it's good for bands like us, and then there are the massive big hitters like Nine Inch Nails. I'd like to see all of those variants throughout the weekend so it's great, such good fun.

“They're the only band who, across the whole summer, we've not run into at a festival. They're one of my favourites, so at Reading on Sunday night I'm going to stick around, miss bus call and try and get a hotel to watch their whole set. They're just one of those bands, they always put on a great show. They have got the most amazing minds behind all of their production.”

After festival season winds down, Editors will hit mainland Europe for a series of shows, with 'The Weight Of Your Love' currently in fine fettle across the continent. Following that, around November, the new-look band will get back out on the road in the UK as they continue to mine a particularly rich vein of inspiration.

“It's obviously different because Chris was such a huge part of our sound,” Lay said. “I don't want to use the words 'signature guitar sound' but it rolls off the tongue quite well when you talk about Chris. He had something that immediately made you know that it was him playing. To lose that is a big change but one that we felt really needed to happen for the songs that Tom had written for the new record to fulfil their potential.

“We felt a bit creatively stuck in our ways and a huge refreshment later, with the new people that have come in, the positivity that has been around the band in the last 16 months, it's remarkable. We're all very keen to crack on and play more shows, whereas beforehand I don't think Editors would have carried on. It's a huge difference.”

Editors UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Sat August 24th 2013 - EDINBURGH The Picture House
Tue November 19th 2013 - BELFAST Mandela Hall
Wed November 20th 2013 - DUBLIN Olympic Theatre

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