Live Review – Everything Everything @ Oran Mar

Everything EverythingHaving not been through to Oran Mor but knowing it was a renovated church, I had a rather misguided idea about the place. I didn’t know it had a downstairs venue, so I thought I might be going to a gig plagued by uncontrollable reverb. How wrong I was. Underneath the church is a really cool space which is very rock n’ roll looking and has an equally great sound. It’s perfect for going to see an intimate gig and I L.O.V.E going to see a band in a small venue. It’s a real celebration of music; close, loud, and a great way to see bands deliver what they do, right in your face.
Arriving a little late after some excellent noodles from Wudon (535 Great Western Road, brilliant food, 5 mins from Oran Mar but I digress…), we only caught three tunes from the support band Post War Years. Looking like a mix between fourth year uni students and staff from Waterstones, this hirsute bunch’s live show hit much harder than their tracks online suggested. Great vocals from three of the band; mixed with drums, keys and launch pads (and at points two basses), this band where a fantastic support to the main act. Apart from the drummer the other three members where locked behind a mountain of equipment and visually this sometimes put a barrier between them and the audience but the tunes soared very high indeed. They had elements of Arcade Fire in the vocals and a great bunch of synth lines, beats, and guitars. What’s not to like?

You might wonder if the studio-based sound of the headline act could be delivered live(we did) but it was obvious by the excellent second track in the set, Torso of the Week (got to love the Heat referencing!) that Everything Everything can deliver their tight and varying sounds on stage with real balls. There are no weak members in the band. Both Jeremy Pritchard and Alex Robertshaw supply their bass and guitars respectively. They also switch to keys when required, back and forth mid-track. Michael Spearman is a fantastic understated drummer swapping between his analogue kit and pads to lift the band’s live sound with ease. On top of this all three supply backing vocals to help create the punchy vocals so prominent on their records.
Everything Everything are helped greatly by the additional keys player and this frees Jonathan Higgs to concentrate on his vocal and guitar duties. This worked so well. Before he was locked to one place but now he is free to roam the stage and you could see, feel and hear how much pleasure this gave him and the crowd. On stage he was obviously having the time of his life and why not? He is a fantastic vocalist and guitarist and lyricist. How often do you here lyrics like “I’m genuflecting in a penitent way”? At times he was finding it hard to wipe the smile off his face and with truly epic versions of tunes of their 2009 Mercury-nominated CD ‘Man Alive’ and the excellent new ‘Arc’. You can understand why. Moving from between up-tempo tunes like ‘Qwerty Keyboards’ to slower tracks like ‘Choice Mountain’, you are aware you are watching a band who can deliver an incredibly wide range of feeling from their music. The crowd lapped it up and it was hard to know who enjoyed it more.

Listen to their two excellent CDs and catch them live if you can.

Jonathan Higgs; even if your nephew doesn’t like your band. Feast does.