On Sat., April 9, I drove three hours to Columbus, Ohio for a concert. Playing at the show were The Kills, The Joy Formidable, BAIO, and Everything Everything. I had only heard of one of these groups, and had driven this entire way only to see the latter. Everything Everything are a four piece alternative rock band from Manchester that rarely play in the U.S., so I saw it as a golden opportunity.
Frontman Jonathan Higgs was both on key and on point, with his near universal use of head voice and falsetto taking him into territories not often tread by male singers. Guitarist Alex Robertshaw provided everything from worship-inspired, reverb-laden droning to arena rock soloing. A solid rhythm section by bassist Jeremy Pritchard and drummer Michael spearman rounded out the sound, with Peter Sene, their touring keyboard player, jumping up and down and banging his head in a great manic display.
Everything Everything seemed, at least from my vantage point in the very front row, to receive the most enthusiastic reception from the crowd. The radio promoters from the Columbus radio station which hosted the event seemed utterly surprised that a small-time (at least in their mind) group could be so well-put-together. What they lack in U.S. exposure, they more than make up for in their popularity overseas, as well as their near-universal acclaim amongst critics. This seems to indicate that the music scenes of the U.S. and the U.K. seem more separated than ever.
While large-scale pop groups like One Direction have no trouble gaining a foothold in the U.S, and certain groups like Florence + The Machine have managed to break through the Atlantic barrier, the excellent dance, R&B and electronic music being produced by the Brits such as Everything Everything and London Grammar, as well as rock groups like Biffy Clyro seem to go wholly unnoticed by American audiences. Whether this is due simply to taste or poor marketing on their behalf, I’m not sure. What is sure is that the hosts at Side B Saturday night didn’t know what they had their hands on. The Joy Formidable, the Kills, and BAIO seemed wholly unprepared for the night, likely writing it off as another small time gig and lacking all showmanship. Everything Everything seemed to take this for exactly what it was: their audition to Middle America. If the reactions from the crowd are anything to gauge, they succeeded wholesale.