Photos (c) Matthew Fessey
He informed us that he normally plays ‘Smokers…’ at this point, but had received a text from his father that day suggesting he perform ‘All Sparks’ as no-one was hurt in the fire during the afternoon.
A Monday night and the fans are getting ready to let off steam after their first day back of the week. Their chance to move along with Editors had in fact been on the brink of cancellation, following the hefty fire that broke out at the Bristol University student lettings during the afternoon. But despite the effects to the buildings either side, 120 students needing to be removed and the fire itself taking hours to bring down, the show was given the go-ahead.
We were shown to our seats in the front row of the balcony situated right above the stage; what I’d call a perfect spot to people watch. As the fans settled you could see real energy was flowing as many sought out the best spots to enjoy the unique acoustics of Colston Hall.
At 7:50 on the dot we were greeted by six Scottish lads you may know — The Twilight Sad — bringing us their unique take on post-punk indie, starting their set with material from current album ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here, Nobody Wants to Leave’. Their sound is still unique, creating a strong atmosphere in the hall through a combination of movement, expression and signature Scotch vocals, as they entranced an otherwise eager audience.
Now for the main event: The Stafford five bring their European tour to the Southwest. The fans cheered and lights filled the stage as they open with recent offering ‘No Harm’ (from new album ‘In dreams’), reviving the room after a 30 minute interval. The atmosphere was instantly intense — and the performance instantly eccentric.
Frontman Tom Smith had a seasoned charisma to his performance that got the crowd involved from the off. His mannerisms where wolf-like, animalistic in nature and decidedly dramatic, feeding a performance that rather captured than entertained. Never one to break character, this alter ego (I would presume) would not leave until the gig was over.
Tracks from ‘No Harm’ were enthusiastically brought to life, while gaps were filled with classics like ‘Bones’, ‘Munich’, and of course ‘An End Has a start’. Each of the five showed real experience, with drummer Edward Lay in particular playing with such precision that it pumped real soul through every track. As the night went on, audience hands were in the air, clapping along and offering up the kind of movement that the band could truly feed off (and vice-versa) until the atmosphere was magnified.
Towards the end comes Tom Smith’s obligatory acoustic section. He informed us that he normally plays ‘Smokers…’ at this point, but had received a text from his father that day suggesting he perform ‘All Sparks’ as no-one was hurt in the fire during the afternoon. He performed both and it was a moving thing to witness.
After a few moments left for anticipation, the night was ended on ‘Ocean of Night’, ‘Papillon’ and ‘Marching Orders’, bringing the house down to close a show that provided everything: energy, atmosphere, entertainment and a night with like-minded people that will be on all of their lips for weeks to come.
Check out ‘Life is a Fear’ here: