Everything Everything at The Academy, Dublin, 3 November 2015
Behind the curtain, Alex Robertshaw of Everything Everything juts out his jaw as he sceptically rubbernecks the stage, eyes darting between the Belfast-based support act Mojofury and the sparsely populated venue. His face is difficult to read from a distance.
The crowd’s reaction is tepidly positive to the opening band. Mojofury are decent, but guilty of having a muddled and oddly dated sound despite liberal use of synths. The emo side-fringes further prove the point. Mojofury would be great if this was, say, 2007. It isn’t though, and instead you have a bizarre Elliot-Minor-meets-Enter-Shikari cross, a sound that constantly falls between two stools.
The highlight of their performance is a synth-injected and more heavily textured cover of Duke Special’s Freewheel, which elicits smiles, lazy nods and sways of recognition from the spectators.
Somewhere between Mojofury leaving the stage and Everything Everything starting their set, the room fills up and begins to swell with people, all buzzing with excitement. The four are kitted out in matching collarless red bomber jackets that make them look like citizens of a very hip dystopia.
The set kicks off with To the Blade, and from that moment there is not a second of silence; any pauses between songs are filled with hollers, claps, cheers and yells. At various intervals the crowd chant “Ev-ry-thing! Ev-ry-thing!”, to which Jonathan Higgs responds with modest glee. “I don’t think anyone has ever chanted for us before.” he says.
The warm rapport between crowd and band rarefies the air – the crowd know every word, whistle and pause, singing along with such fanatical fervour that at one point Higgs shoots a glance to bassist Jeremy Pritchard and mouths, “Jesus Christ.” Addressing the crowd: “You guys are fucking mental… that’s Dublin for you.”
There’s a uniquely amicable vibe; the crowd electrified with singular devotion to the musicians before them, the band in utter disbelief at the intensity of everyone’s affection.
Higgs has an incredible dramatic flair when he performs – he’s cheeky and expressive, without being contrived. His vocals are peppered with finger wiggles, tongue wagging, head banging with tousles his bleach blonde hair and coy eyebrow raises. His focus is unshakeable – during Regret, someone comes on stage to reattach Higgs’s guitar strap which has fallen away. Higgs stands still to let the roadie work but remains unperturbed, neither missing a beat or peeling his eyes away from the people below for even a moment. In conjunction with his downright impressive falsetto and vocal range – just as clear and polished as on any produced album track – he is, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, downright enthralling to watch.
This can be said for the entire ensemble. Recordings don’t do justice to Everything Everything’s musicality and variety of tone and instrumentation. It’s too dynamic to be properly contained, and any attempt to do so hamper the wonders. Everything Everything are, undoubtedly, best experienced live.
Track wise, the set is judiciously chosen. They stick primarily to their latest album ‘Get to Heaven’ – Blast Doors, Get to Heaven, Fortune 500, Kemosabe and Zero Pharoah all make an appearance, with older songs such as Photoshop Handsome and Cough Cough thrown in for good measure. The band depart after playing Distant Past; everyone knows that they’re going to return (as surely they couldn’t leave without paying No Reptiles) but nevertheless launch into chants of “One more tune, one more tune” no less than three times, never letting up, stamping their feet and impatiently demanding more.
Of course, Everything Everything come back, all grinning ear to ear and holding frothing Heinekens. My KZ UR BF, Spring Summer Winter Dread and finally No Reptiles seem to sufficiently sate the crowd’s appetite. Higgs reiterates his shock at the gravity of the crowd’s reaction – “Seriously, you guys are awesome, thank you so much.”
As people shuffle out of the Academy, devoted fans can be overheard discussing the possibility of purchasing tickets to Foals’ February 3Arena gig solely to see Everything Everything play support.
This was a gig in its purest form: people united in one venue by love and appreciation for a band’s musicality, and the band in turn determined to give everyone their money’s worth, the latter just as happy to be there as the former.
It was, to put it plainly, great.