Words by Shamyra Abbott
As the lights go down and the curtain goes up, the crowd response indicates the consensus: we’re in for a good show and they know it. Loops and synths begin and Everything Everything head for the stage collecting their instruments and beginning the set with the tension-building ‘A Fever Dream’. As the song peaks, frontman Jonathan Higgs jumps from his keys and runs to the front of the stage reciprocating the energy of their audience. After numerous cancelled shows as a result of ‘The Beast from the East’, the band seem well up for getting straight back into the swing of things.
The band are uniformed in blue jackets and white converse excluding Higgs, who dons a bright orange trench coat – appropriate for their rainy home city. The stage is almost bare with just a riser for drummer Michael Spearman, Higgs’ piano and Peter Sené’s corner of synths. Side stage is lined with amps and with lights facing in on the band producing a uniformed and simple stage. There are no gimmicks, just the band and their music.
The band alternate from their recent albums to older hits, from Get to Heaven‘s ‘Blast Doors’, to 2017’s ‘Desire’ to ‘Cough Cough’. It is clear no matter how different each album feels there are underlying elements of an Everything Everything album which will transfer and run throughout. Fans of the band aren’t fans of a genre or a phase, they’re fans of them and what they create.
Despite being a huge fan of the band for many years, this is my first time seeing them live. I went into the show with some scepticism that the strong falsetto vocals wouldn’t carry and the harmonies wouldn’t sound as sweet, though I was proven wrong. How Higgs maintains such stamina throughout the hit-filled set is a mystery, but it very seldom waivers.
With Alex Robertshaw’s guitar sometimes becoming too loud and overpowering the vocals, he certainly does a great job to compete. The fans don’t mind eagerly singing every guitar solo as best they can, getting lost in the complexities and differences in the live versions. Sound aside, my only qualm was the lack of intervals between songs. It almost felt repetitive in the way that after every song finished, the lights would go down and a new song would begin. For such a creative and innovative band, the set as a whole lacks a sense of flow, despite each individual song sounding strong.
Throughout the set the quartet are giving everything they have, but my eyes can’t help but catch session player Peter Sené. Often in strong power stances with steady head bangs throughout, he truly is enjoying his time in front of the Manchester crowd as the band’s honorary fifth member.
Following a lengthy set of hit after hit, the energy in the room is maintained as the band leave the stage for their encore. On their return, it feels as though it all begins again – the crowd can handle more. The encore begins with a cut from February’s A Deeper Sea EP release, ‘Breadwinner’, and everyone already knows the rap to the hip-hop-influenced track. Higgs and the crowd are in sync, punching the air as everyone shouts ‘power, power, power, power power!’.
The set comes to a close on Get to Heaven favourites ‘Distant Past’ and ‘No Reptiles’. The finale is an unexpected choice but it certainly pays off. ‘Thank you for everything Manchester,’ Higgs says before the song begins. Even though we’re all still here, there is a sense of nostalgia and reflection in ‘No Reptiles’ – a perfect summary of a great night for everyone in the room.