Saturday night in Manchester had this writer torn. On opposite ends of the city, a number of great bands were unknowingly jockeying for my attention. On one side of town, The Hyena Kill were headlining at The Deaf Institute, with support from rising Manchester trio False Advertising. Meanwhile, at Aatma in the Northern Quarter, doom pioneers Bodies On Everest were teaming up with Sly & The Family Drone, with the sole intention of obliterating the eardrums of those in attendance.
Their sold-out performance on Saturday night was the culmination of a lengthy run of shows across the UK, with most dates seeing the quartet performing to sell-out crowds. A homecoming of sorts, the Manchester date was their final UK appearance of 2015, following a whirlwind 12 months. The past year has seen Everything Everything perform in Australia, Turkey, Germany, Spain and Latvia, alongside a busy summer schedule at the likes of Festival No. 6, T In The Park, Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury and Parklife. They also just happened to release an album of the year contender in ‘Get To Heaven’, which entered the UK Albums Chart at number 7.
The atmosphere at the Apollo was particularly electric for their on stage arrival, and opener ‘To The Blade’ was a perfect introduction. The suddenly silenced crowd on edge as front man Jonathan Higgs sang over the minimal introduction, before bursting into the refrain; an explosion of colour backdropping the band on the giant screen behind them. The frantic ‘Blast Doors’ immediately followed, before the night’s first foray into huge crowd favourites with ’Kemosabe’, taken from 2013’s ‘Arc’. The evening obviously featured dashes of these giant hits from the quartet, but the bulk of the set was made up of songs from their latest record.
From the underlying tragedy in the joyous title track to the tense closing stretch of ‘Fortune 500’, their latest album is choc-full of wonderful indie-pop songs, schizophrenically flitting between danceable floor fillers to songs that are claustrophobic and thought provoking all at once. The tracks sound just as good live, if not better. The prophet figure from the incredible ‘Regret’ even made an appearance during said song, hilariously pumping his fists to the baying crowd (much like in the video, come to think of it…)
The wonderful ‘Schoolin’ and ‘Photoshop Handsome’ were huge highlights from yesteryear; the latter of which has not left my head since the show. There was such a joyous feeling throughout the evening and it was probably the most fun I’ve had at a gig in recent months – even with the collection of utter mouth breather LADS that had pitched up near our party.
On stage patter was kept to a minimum, but when something was said, it was with meaning and a genuine sense of feeling behind it. Front man Jonathan recalled an Everything Everything show at the *slightly* smaller Night and Day Cafe seven years previous, in which the show “sucked ass” and only seven punters showed up. A far cry from where they stand today, and the quartet seemed to be having the greatest time on stage – though perhaps not as much fun as their live show keyboard player, whose enthusiasm was truly infectious.
Their latest single ‘No Reptiles’ was the first of three heavy hitters that made up the encore, and it’s fast become a favourite from the new album. Its incredibly poignant closing section building steam with a breath taking line centered around an obese toddler in a pram before building to a lump-in-the-throat crescendo; an amazing moment shared with the capacity crowd. ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ and ‘Distant Past’ made up a perfect, crowd pleasing one-two punch; the thousands in attendance dancing euphorically as the venue filled up with an explosion of colour for the final time.