Nerves: scourge of the dispatch box, penalty spot and the stage.
For a good half of this show, Everything Everything seemed nervous.
A sort of homecoming (three are from Tynedale); the first night of a tour that takes them up a level to the big Academy halls of the UK; some songs not played for a while.
Perhaps these things conspire to engineer a taciturn lead singer and a swift rattle through the setlist, a shame given how, last time here, relaxed frontman Jonathan Higgs slowly stalked the stage, a smiling villain, anointing his followers with an assured glow that comes from playing a music that’s bursting with confidence.
That gig, in February, very much feels now like a swansong to the end of the opening chapter - the point they shed the old skin of the cosy smaller stages and strode out into the big time.
This is the second time they’ve toured Arc here, their startling second album of environmental, psychological meltdown - accessible yet forebodingly futuristic.
It’s good to hear the songs again, after having some time to let these many melodies and ideas sink in.
Kemosabe starts and there’s a joke, surely. “I’m outta my depth, outta, outta my depth,” Higgs sings. Nervous? Perhaps. Not up to it? Get outta town.
He knows this of course. Indeed, by the end, he’s had enough “genuflecting in a penitent way”.
Herein is epitomised the joy of Everything Everything: a band crammed with lyrical and musical invention, yet thrillingly melodious and ultra-modern.
Five songs in, Higgs confesses they’re nervy, endearingly, and apologises for belting through the set. I knew it, damn it.
They relax here as the lights shroud them and they rock amid electric cobwebs, not least on MY KZ, UR BF, Suffragette Suffragette, and Photoshop Handsome.
The pinnacles come in the downbeat moments however: The Peaks and Undrowned (their songwriting’s finest hour?).
It has me wondering whether they should go full blown rock opera for their third album. Go on, lads, do it).
Don’t Try, Radiant and Cough Cough bring up the rear with nerveless exuberance. Exciting Exciting.