Editors, Hot Hot Heat @ The Wiltern, Feb 9, 2008

’Editors’Admittedly, my familiarity with the Editors prior to this show consisted entirely of the two songs I heard in the car en route to the Wiltern. I am slightly more knowledgeable about Hot Hot Heat, having purchased and enjoyed their 2002 release Make Up the Breakdown. However, I haven’t listened to that in a couple years. So, I went in without any agenda or expectations.

I arrived around 9:30. Louis XIV had already finished their set (which I wanted to see), and people were milling about to buy $14 large draft beers. The crowd was full of white guys in their 30s with hair product. Other prominent demographics included Latino and Asian guys in their 30s, with hair product. The women present were pretty unremarkable. As far as crowds go, this was one of the most conservative that I have seen in recent memory.

Hot Hot Heat took the stage, and launched into an energetic set of material new enough to be totally unfamiliar to me, as well as hits from Make Up. Their vibe was more pop than rock, an image that was enhanced by the fact that lead singer Steve Bays resembled Justin G., fallen contestant from American Idol Season 1, due to large hair. I’m not sure how much of the crowd was there to see them specifically, but a few people standing near me knew all the words to each of their songs. HHH was entertaining, but I feel they may be better suited to a smaller venue. Like, an Urban Outfitters store opening.

While we waited for (The?) Editors to take the stage, the crowd was invited to participate in the game allowing you to send a text message to be displayed on the large screen above the stage. Judging by the messages there, the concertgoers voted for Obama, thought Bays looked more like Carrot Top than Justin G., and still finds the “I am sofa king we todd did” joke fresh and hilarious.

Then, it was Editors time. The venue was more crowded than it was during HHH, but nowhere near maximum capacity. I expected the set to be kind of a snooze, based on my two-song preview (not a comment on Editors’ skill/genius/excellence; rather, because this is not the kind of music I listen to, ever). But, I was very pleasantly surprised. Their show was controlled and tight, without sacrificing energy. I got the impression that this is a group of sensitive dudes who take their craft seriously, but enjoy performing. Lead Tom Smith changed instrument after every song, and had the distracting mannerisms of a child with Down Syndrome leading the LA Philharmonic; other than that, the band indulged in no real antics or banter. Set was long enough, followed quickly by a 3-song encore.

Photography by Erin’s cell phone. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction punishable by law.

» Hot Hot Heat Takes 4th Place in our 2007 Best Concert Reader’s Poll with 274 votes (!?)
» Hot Hot Heat @ Greek, 2007