I went to go see Architects live tonight at the Manchester Academy 2 on Friday 7th March. It was the first day of their tour in support of their new (as yet unreleased, although you could buy it at the merch stand) album Lost Forever Lost Together.
They were supported by Landscapes, Northlane and Stray From The Path.
Doors seemed to open about forty minutes late but I’m not sure if that was reality or just my perception. When I did get in, I was able to get very close to the front in a good spot. Landscapes were already playing when I got in (something that’s happened a few times at the Academy), they were a Metalcore band halfway between the Architects/BMTH style and the Killswitch/Parkway Drive style, and they were really good at what they did. They also had quite a lot of floaty bits that reminded me vaguely of Isis. Their singer was pretty impressive, he got into the crowd at one point for almost an entire song, but not like when a singer usually pops up at the front of the crowd, he walked right into the centre of the room and a circle opened up around him as he sang into different fans’ faces, it was pretty cool. They were my favourite support band of the evening.
Next up came Northlane, who were Australian. Their singer at first reminded me of big New York Hardcore singers like Evan Seinfeld and Lou Coller, but that changed as the show went on. Their music really engaged the crowd, although I couldn’t really make much sense of it. It was pretty techy and disjointed, with a lot of sub-drops and stuff. What was also interesting is that their guitarist played riffs every now and again that you’d swear were Wes Borland riffs. Its not something you expect in combination with the rest of it. It was impressive, but the song structures and things were kind of a little baffling, to the point of being pretty progressive. The crowd seemed really into it. If you like them, you’d love them live.
Next up came Stray From The Path; who I looked up on Wikipedia on my phone while they were sound-checking, and saw under their Genre ‘Hardcore Punk.’ When their first song, which I assume was called ‘Pull The Pin,’ came on however, it sounded like Limp Bizkit to me. Their singer was a bouncy, hip hop influenced guy who threw Eminem style hand gestures and things. The rest of their set was kind of like a mixture between Will Haven, Vision Of Disorder, Rage Against The Machine and actually Northlane. The bill really made sense, all the bands had real similarities in places but were a completely different take on it. They were really good at what they did, but it wasn’t quite to my tastes. I could tell their singer really meant what he said and the band played well, so once again, if you like this band, live they are excellent so you’d love it.
Finally the evening ended with Architects. I was kind of expecting it to be OK. I don’t know why, but for some reason I went in with the notion it would be decent but not great. As it turns out it was actually bloody brilliant. Architects were absolutely on fire. They had this huge, indescribable x-factor about them that made them seems so much larger and more professional than most other bands I’ve seen live in this venue. Singer Dan Carter just had that superstar confidence about him (even though he was humble and really grateful and kept making thankful statements to the crowd that didn’t seem disingenuous in any way), he is an incredible front man, pretty captivating. I would love to see Bring Me The Horizon replace Olly Sykes with Dan Carter – that would make a really great live band. Maybe even better would just be if the entire of Architects had BMTH’s songs. That would be an incredible live band. Comparing the two from what I’ve seen live, (and its kind of reasonable to compare them with their similar music and mutual appearances on eachother’s albums) Dan is thousands of times better as a singer, screamer, crowd ambassador and visual force than Olly is, and has way better stage presence. When I saw BMTH live before Christmas, Olly kind of let the show down a bit, because of being out-of-breath and missing parts and interacting with the crowd poorly… Architects live were the exact opposite. Just as a quick example; at one stage Dan said “Everybody in the whole audience, drop to your knees” and I’m not joking, in less than about 12 seconds it had happened. Everyone just did it. No dragged out period of convincing them, and mocking the people who are slow or unable to do it all the way. Just almost instant success. Olly had tried the same thing when I saw BMTH and it was really drawn out, and Olly started telling people to fuck off and go home and generally being petulant. I think Dan must just seem like such a nice bloke everybody wanted to do it for him.
The set list was interesting, with some new material from the upcoming new album, one track from The Here And Now and most of the set drawn from Daybreaker and Hollow Crown (and as far as I could tell, nothing older than that) so 99% of the setlist was drawn from albums were the ‘A’ logo is the artwork.
The highlight of the show was when they played ‘Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat’ and ‘The Here And Now’ one after another, possibly because they’re my two favourite Architects songs anyway, but also because it was brilliant live.
The band actually sold out the 900 person venue and raised the very good point that this is pretty unbelievable when you consider how angular, jagged and ugly an album Hollow Crown is (Seriously, if you don’t know the band, just listen to the first minute of ‘Early Grave’ and then wonder how a band playing that can sell out such a big venue, with a pretty equal gender split in the audience)… its not even like they played much material with clean singing or the spacey numbers, it was all just the heavy stuff, more or less.
The crowd seemed to absolutely love it. They chanted ‘Arch-i-techs’ and uncommonly high amount of times. There was an interesting bit when they stopped the show to raise awareness of an anti-whaling charity called Sea Sheppard, and even that didn’t let them lose any momentum. The band were all just on fire. Every member played with real energy and conviction. Overall, it was a fantastic performance and I was really impressed. If you’re a fan and you can, go and see them live – you won’t be disappointed.