Editors, who went platinum in the UK with their 2005 debut, The Back Room (Kitchenware/Epic), have yet to get their due here in the US. On the strength of that disc and their new An End Has a Start (Fader/Epic), they did manage to top a bill with two other buzzworthy up-and-comers, Louis XIV and Hot Hot Heat, last Saturday at the Orpheum. Yet even with two good support acts, the British foursome weren’t quite able to fill the Orpheum.
Editors’ UK star status was evident in the swagger they radiated as they started up with the immediate, hard-hitting new “Bones.” Led by Tom Smith’s dark, Ian Curtis–like voice and penchant for Morrissey-style angst, the band ripped through a tight, hour-long set of moody, melodic, guitar-driven neo-post-punk. A strong, sensitive type, Smith moved comfortably between guitar and piano, and Chris Urbanowitz (lead guitar, synth), Russell Leetch (bass), and Ed Lay (drums/percussion) provided solid support, notably during the fierce “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors.” “Say goodbye to everyone you have ever known,” Smith wailed. “You are not gonna see them ever again.”
Louis XIV burst out of San Diego in 2005 with a glam-frosted take on gritty garage rock that fuses a lusty, stylized presence with raw rock-and-roll attitude. At the Orpheum, with a watch chain visible from the pocket of his black vest, Jason Hill stole swigs from a bottle of wine, not beer, as he made eyes with the women in the front row. The band’s anthemic hooks seemed to promise a hit single just around the corner, but they didn’t quite get there with 2005’s The Best Little Secrets Are Kept (Atlantic). Still, Hill worked hard to kickstart a buzz for their new Slick Dogs and Ponies, which is due from Atlantic this Tuesday, January 29.
The unenviable task of performing as people were still streaming in fell to Canadian band Hot Hot Heat, who are trying to take their synth- and guitar-driven rock out of the garage and into a larger arena. They didn’t hit their stride till the 2005 single “Middle of Nowhere,” one of their catchier tunes, but then they eased up on their tense, strained neo new wave and let the hooks come through.