Everything Everything – Institute of Contemporary Arts – 04/11/09

The Institute of Contemporary Arts upper floor bar is occupied by serial daters, couples unwinding in post-coital serenity, recovering divorcee born again alternative post-punk enthusiasts, and twenty something’s in circulation stabbing leg wear, shoes collectively exhibiting the transience of past and present fashion. Both the innards of the bar and serving point are heavily pregnant with soft mood pinks, greens, turquoise blues and purples. I am sitting on an orange plastic chair bolted to the floor. The hand cut chips with aioli sauce arrive late and are beyond divine.

By 21:45 I’m butting past loiterers and semi-fans to position myself in prime location when a ginger nest riding the ears of Lee Evans rises from meditation into my line of judgement. Jonathan (voice, guitar, laptop) negotiates equipment to plant duct tape on a herd of cables advancing off the stage. Alex (guitar, voice) and Jeremy (bass, voice and keys) cross over and pause to restore balance to microphone stands and amplifier settings as well as to fine tune their instruments.

They open with ‘Tin (the manhole)’, the chorister and his guitar under an expanding cylinder of white light, the perfect effect for what is an ethereal and haunting synergy of cleverly arranged sampling and vocal sections. This track drew me hypnotically in, innovative in its conception, stunning in its delivery. I was not familiar with the following track, but by no means did I attempt to mime unfamiliar lyrics out of the corner of my mouth like an anus at an armpit party. I merely relished material which (new to my ears) left me all the more invigorated. Next came ‘Suffragette Suffragette’ (which like the promise of dry land in the distance beyond Britain’s cultural maelstrom) show cased the methodical genius of a drummer in peak condition. The surrounding bodies were in fits and jolts about the floor in front of the stage. They out perform their own recordings effortlessly. Everything Everything possess stage presence the likes of which cannot be formulated by divine intervention or pills, but through refinement and rigorous attention to detail, a gut conviction in approach, style and execution.

I turned round and the place was rammed. ‘Hiawatha Domed’ launched an already platinum show into orbit and I was finally going ape with the crowd who were busting nuts in circular around me. The band became something new for me from that point onwards. Certain chemical elements unfathomable draw you to a group or set of musicians, I don’t know what it is? Generally it defies explanation because if you could find the words it wouldn’t be worth the silence. I got the same spinal shivers when I listened to Florence and the Machine for the first time or ‘Silent Alarm’ by Bloc Party (whose stylistic approach incidentally is similar to that of Everything Everything). ‘NASA is on your side’ is not the band’s Magnum Opus yet still was I hit with the espresso wings of childish joy.

It was at this point they began to skilfully read the audience with the piercing glance of professionals. Not that they can’t do this while they’re performing, but they approach quietly, they’re not loud or brash; it’s a wry smile a grin of knowing.

They haven’t been around long enough to cut loose one of their biggest hits, ‘My Keys Your Boyfriend’ but for a minute I thought they might not play it. One of the band’s biggest box tickers (not to mention sexiest music videos, a plethora of scattered hotties) this track could be used as musical CPR at any after wedding get together.

Then it happened. They left the stage. Then again I had caught mention of ‘the last one’. After eloping they returned to play ‘Photoshop Handsome’, sweaty piles to the left and right of me, perspiration soaked digital cameras. My eye then caught a professional photographer at the front of the stage who I lamped, and making-like-tree with the equipment out the venue I got hijacked, receiving multiple bindings of tape to the legs, arms and mouth, bundled into a glossy black BMW and thrown out in, hmm, Ealing Broadway? If you think that sounds amazing go see Everything Everything, they are twice times amazing.


Words by Phillip Cogger