Perhaps it was fitting that the new Birmingham Academy’s debut would be played by Editors, Birmingham’s biggest export (in recent years), themselves debuting a new sound.
Like the Academy of old, the new building boasts a three sided balcony overhanging the large square floor. Small additions such as tiered seating on the balcony and outdoor area look to have bumped up the capacity, but that doesn’t mean any more personal space tonight as the room is rammed.
Sadly I arrive too late to catch opening acts The Northwestern and Bombay Bicycle Club, in fact I barely have time to get a drink in before Editors begin their show.
Starting with the title track to their yet to be released third album, In This Light and On This Evening is a signal of intent: tonight’s show will be as much about the new Editors as the old.
It is the old Editors material that draws the biggest response tonight. Set highlights are the older screaming guitar and sing-along chorus (Joy Division/Interpol-lite) type tracks such as Lights, Munich and Smokers Outside of Hospital Doors.
The new Editors tracks have dropped the guitars and big choruses in favour of atmosphere and synths, of the new tracks it is only radio single Papillion that really gets the crowd moving.
I don’t doubt that the new tracks and audience response will improve with familiarity but tonight the alternating new song-old song set list makes for a something of a stop-start performance.
In the end the new Birmingham Academy succeeded in its debut night by delivering more of the same, where Editors perhaps lost a few points by trying one new trick too many.