With their second album release, “Arc”, having recently peaked in the chart at number 5, Manchester-based indie pop band Everything Everything are currently on a 21 date tour of the UK and Europe. Having already sold out all of the UK dates, the tour will conclude with them jetting off for two shows in LA and New York before finally returning to the UK to support Two Door Cinema Club at the Alexandra Palace on 27th April.
Everything Everything’s support, Outfit, kicked off the evening by bringing their brand of art rock to the Oxford Academy. Their style was relaxed and slightly reminiscent of Delphic, with synth and guitar combinations galore. The lead singer chatted to the crowd before the band brought their short set to a close with an excellent upbeat track.
During the changeover, and looking around the crowd, it struck me how diverse the audience was. Usually the O2 Academy Oxford is almost exclusively filled with students and those within the 18-25 age bracket, but Everything Everything’s sold out gig had attracted a sizeable number of people over 25, which is great to see. As a result there was no frantic moshing and throwing of beer, but rather an audience who was captivated by the performance of the band, and who sang and clapped along just as enthusiastically as the usual moshing crowd does. It made a very refreshing change.
As the lights dimmed Everything Everything finally broke onto the stage to start their set. Starting with “_Arc_” from the new album, the band sauntered through a packed track list that spanned both of their albums, filled with moody and melodic synths, jaunty beats, staccato guitars and strings, and the unmistakeable falsetto vocals of lead singer, Jonathan Higgs. By the time the band got to their latest single, “Kemosabe”, the crowd was singing and clapping with great enthusiasm. The set really shone for the excellent vocals and harmonies, particularly in the band’s upcoming new single, Duet, but it was the rendition of slightly rocked-up “Suffragette Suffragette” that really showed how tight the band has become.
Higgs talked to the crowd frequently, and I marvelled at the contrast between his speaking voice, which is quite low and gruff, and his singing voice. This perhaps explains the great range of his vocals, which skip around as much as they produce soaring, pitch perfect legato phrases.
Playing crowd pleasers including “Schoolin’” from first album, “Man Alive”, the band treated the audience to tracks from both albums, including “Armourland” and “Choice Mountain” before finishing the set with the brilliant “Cough Cough”. After much baying for more, the band appeared for their four track encore that started with the ever popular “My Kz Ur Bf” and ended with “Don’t Try”.
Even with a couple of strange set list choices (such as choosing the downbeat “The House Is Dust” for the penultimate track of the encore, which prompted those who wanted to beat the crowd to make an early exit), Everything Everything executed a great performance that contrasted beautiful vocals with their trademark quirky synths and beats. The crowd’s response to “Cough Cough” might have made that track a better choice for their final track of the encore, but overall the band have shown that they mean business, and are serious contenders for the indie pop crown.