Fresh from the release of Johnny Borrell’s bands’ first studio record in 10 years, we headed to Leeds to see how the new tracks of today held up with the indie classics of yesteryear. Olympus Sleeping was released in October giving fans plenty of time to get familiar with the new songs and it was clear that most in the packed O2 Academy had done just that.
Opening with Rip It Up and In The Morning it was an explosive start to warm up the crowd on the cold, wet Tuesday night. What really struck me instantly was the range of ages within the audience, people discovering the band for the first time, right to staunch Razorlight fans from day one, there was a real mix of young and old which made for an energetic, pulsating show.
Now the only original member, Johnny commanded the stage and the crowd in perfect harmony. He seemed energised and happy to be back on the stage touring new music and the double header of Brighton Peer and Midsummer Girl proved that the new tracks really do stand up and stand out amongst the classics. Unlike many bands of the time though (The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs), Razorlight are very understated but when Golden Touch, Before I fall to Pieces and Somewhere Else drop – it’s evident just how iconic the indie-rockers’ first two records are. Mass singalongs ensued in all three of these and really let the nostalgia of the noughties kick in.
Borrell was quiet throughout on stage, taking a step back from being “frontman” and being a great artist. Of the new tracks, Japanrock was the live standout which brought about the best reactions in Leeds. Before an epic American finale, Razorlight ripped through a huge 21 track setlist really highlighting both their diversity but their timelessness. Many would stick to the golden oldies but Borrell and co. certainly wanted to show Leeds they were here to stay.
This was new Razorlight, energised Razorlight and a Razorlight I think could get back to the heights of 2006 if people believe in them enough.