Having foolishly not bought tickets for what had quickly become a sold out UK tour, the difficulty of simply getting through the door made Everything Everything‘s appearance at the Norwich Arts Centre a hotly anticipated one. Once inside the crowd seemed slightly strange; the collected mass was spattered with die-hard fans who knew every lyric (a major feat considering their speed and complexity), but also featured many of those like myself, who knew the odd song, but perhaps hadn’t taken a keen interest in the band before their recent thrust into the public eye. Nevertheless, as you’d expect, there was still an irresistible buzz of energy as soon at the band occupied the intimate stage and opened with the mesmerising ‘Undrowned’.
What followed was as perfectly a formed set as you’ll ever witness. Two albums of material can sometimes pose problems for a band, as you know you have to play your ‘hits’, but also want to promote your new record. There was no such trouble for Everything Everything, whose collection of songs to date complemented each other perfectly. Pulling out an opening trio of ‘Kemosabe’, ‘Qwerty Finger’ and ‘Torso of the Week’, the band proved their depth, their guile, and their precision in a flurry of moves. That’s not to say they showed their hand too early though; mixing newer, more contemplative tracks in before the riotous ‘Photoshop Handsome’ was craftily executed, and led someone over my shoulder to cry out, “This is the best gig I’ve seen in years! And it’s only halfway through!”
After the brief reprieve of ‘The Peaks’, Jonathan Higgs insisted on playing some “party tunes”, which meant firing into one of the bands heavier cuts, ‘Suffragette Suffragette’. As expected it was new single “Cough Cough” which coaxed more of the audience to raise their voices to the Art Centre’s vaulted ceiling. Yet despite spitting out all the “Yeah/So/Um/Wait-a-second’s” that I could, I found myself wishing that I knew all the lyrics, so I could show my appreciation for a band who were clearly enjoying themselves; immersed in their music yet technically flawless. Indeed, what was so remarkable was how the band seemed to better the studio recorded versions of their earlier records. Despite having a Batman badge on his guitar strap, Jonathan Higgs’ high pitched tones avoided the screeching that he’s occasionally criticised for. The rest of the band also proved that they don’t just know how to write, but know how to play too, rattling off time signature changes, technical riffs and multi-voice harmonies with consummate ease.
I’m writing this review as someone who wouldn’t have classed themselves as a hardcore fan of the band before the gig, and yet I’m also writing it as someone who eagerly queued up afterwards to have the bassist’s plectrum signed, so I’d say they’d managed to put on a pretty good show. Hell, I even broke my personal rules of gig etiquette and shouted with the rest of the crowd when it was time for the inevitable encore. Triumphantly playing out with poppier venture ‘Don’t Try’, it was evident the band stayed true to their name – they gave absolutely everything, and the crowd received everything in return.
Fiona Fletcher and Alex Throssell
Dance Yrself Clean