– ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER –

Everything Everything are one of the great success stories to emerge from Manchester since the turn of the century. The band themselves reflect on their earliest days as fledgling art-rockers in and around the city a few times during the night, and here they are riding high on the wave of their critically acclaimed second album, ‘Arc’, with a very much sold out show back at home.

But it’s far from plain sailing tonight. With a curiously early curfew of 10:30 in place, it’s with some anxiety that an engineer approaches the microphone with the news that the sound desk has broken down, followed by the words “the show has not been cancelled”, a thought that would never have occurred to anybody had he not raised the prospect. It is a tense wait, broken up only by the admittedly hilarious ovations that greeted the sound checker, but finally the band grace the stage around 30 minutes delayed.

The extra half hour only serves to fuel anticipation (what’s that, one drink?), and soon enough ‘Kemosabe’ delivers the first opportunity for arms to flail, lights to strobe and Jonathan Higgs’ falsettos to ring out. The angular rhythms hit an early stride, and never wane for the rest of the set. The band are tight, and by and large stick to the frameworks of the songs that have become familiar, rarely allowing room for deviation. This doesn’t allow for a great deal of surprise as the band rattle through highlights from both records, but it does ensure that the crowd are never alienated, and this Friday night is not the time for patience as the artists “experiment with their sound.”

Indeed, the only problems tonight stem from the venue rather than the band. Academy 2, sandwiched between the far more intimate Club Academy and Academy 3, has long been one of the most soulless theatres for live music in Manchester, and tonight does nothing to disprove it. The crowd is receptive, but unless you’re in the front third, you very well may not realise that, assuming you can hear anything at all.

But Everything Everything battle onwards, and naturally older tracks ‘Schoolin’’ and ‘Qwerty Finger’ are greeted like returning heroes. After an especially triumphant ‘Suffragette Suffragette’, Higgs is moved to reminisce rather romantically of how a show in the Night and Day Café in the Northern Quarter many years ago had seen them excitedly debut that track (a song which, frankly, they are unlikely ever to improve upon). This leads into the infectious concoction that is ‘Cough Cough’, which assuredly closes out the main set to a swirl of cheers and screams.

They could have been forgiven for skimping on their encore, given the earlier technical difficulties, but such worries are allayed, first by the extremely popular ‘MY KZ UR BF’, which gave the night its last jolt of electricity, before a trio of tracks from ‘Arc’ bring the night to an appropriate and, dare you say it, mature ending. Everything Everything will return to Manchester many more times, and they can rest assured that they have a career-long hometown fanbase to rely on.

Max Pilley

I'm a refugee in Manchester, having successfully escaped Birmingham in 2007. I'm a soon-to-be journalism student, used to edit the music section of the Manchester Uni paper, and have done a little radio production to boot. I've been adding bits and pieces to Silent Radio since 2012, mostly gig reviews, but a few albums too. Also hoping now to get involved with the brilliant radio show. When doing none of that, you can usually find me at some gig venue somewhere around town.