It was an emotional yet flawless performance from Architects
Architects plus Bury Tomorrow and Stick To Your Guns
Venue: O2 Brixton Academy, London
Date: 18th November 2016
Since the sad passing of Architects‘ guitarist and a key songwriter in Tom Searle earlier this year, there have been a lot of eyes on the Brighton men and how they have coped with the loss of a great musician and friend. The atmosphere in Brixton Academy was one that I can only compare to Slipknot‘s performance in Sonisphere 2011. This was a wake for fans to celebrate Searle‘s life, much like that Sonisphere set was a wake for Paul Gray.
This was the final night of an emotional European tour, A sold out O2 Brixton Academy which saw the likes of fellow brits Bury Tomorrow and California’s Stick To Your Guns also pay tribute to the guitarist. A theme ran throughout the night as the bands all shared like-minded views on politics and world affairs. Every band on the night had their say on wanting to change the world for the better.
To quote Architects frontman Sam Carter, when talking about the work that the Sea Shephard charity does, “If the oceans die, we die”. These were the kind of messages that circulated each set.
Stick To Your Guns kicked the night off shortly after doors open, hitting the stage to the recognisably creepy Stranger Things theme tune before launching into ‘Nobody’ and then the band’s new politically aware hit ‘Universal Language’. Noticeably the vocals from the stage were drowned out by the crushing riffs, though it’s pretty typical for opening sets at Brixton to have dodgy sound.
Straight away a couple of pits opened and fans were singing along. The crowd reaction from a small collection of die-hard fans was pretty strong throughout the set. Though, earlier this year we caught the Californians at The Camden Underworld, where the band performed a 10/10 chaotic set which was stage dives galore. The big difference at Brixton was that the atmosphere within the crowd was a lot tamer in comparison. Mainly for a mixture of reasons; it was early, the crowd was mostly there for the other acts, and it seems that all out hardcore is best saved for smaller venues. Bigger places like Brixton aren’t a fan of the whole stage invasion thing sadly.
Stick To Your Guns stuck to what they do best; delivering two-step anthems with metallic hardcore vibes, massive choruses with catchy hooks; The energy on the stage was incredible, but it wasn’t completely matched in pit violence and animosity in the audience. Huge crowd shout-outs from songs like ‘Such Pain’ and the fan favourite of ‘Against Them All’ helped in elevating the performance somewhat, making the overall set still highly enjoyable, but I still expected and hoped for something a bit more lively.
Bury Tomorrow, on the other hand, were on a whole new level. The Brit metallers had played the venue earlier this year on a tour with Parkway Drive, which was a pretty decent set in itself. This time the Southampton lads took to the stage in which a massive roar from the crowd flooded the venue. I was taken aback by what was close to 5000 voices heard as Bury Tomorrow launched right into ‘Man On Fire’. Almost the entire crowd was singing along, also, the mosh pits were larger and lot more vicious looking.
The set was dominated by tracks from Bury Tomorrow’s most recent album, ‘Earthbound’. The crowd reaction to tracks such as ‘Memories’, ‘301’ and ‘Last Light’ showed how popular the album has become over the last nine months. The relentless enthusiasm within the crowd throughout the set didn’t let up. That spark was ignited even more when Bury Tomorrow played fan favourite, ‘Lionheart’; I had never seen Bury Tomorrow receive such a phenomenal response before.
Daniel Winter-Bates was on incredible form with his monstrous roars, and in controlling the energy in the room. Of course, Jason Cameron‘s singing voice was captivating as always. The harsh vocals mixed with cleans was the perfect blend as they were layered on top venue destroying riffs. Later in the night Architects‘ Sam Carter said that some day Bury Tomorrow will headline Brixton Academy, and I don’t doubt such a claim. I certainly recommend people catch them on their tour next April with Crossfaith.
As the stage was being prepared for Architects to hit the stage, a massive screen with the artwork for the band’s most recent album, ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ obstructs our view, but also builds the excitement in the room. I said the roar when Bury Tomorrow hit the stage was loud, the roar for Architects was absolutely deafening. And as soon as the Brighton lads launched into ‘Nihilist’ the venue was on fire.
The crowd erupted into chaos. You could hear countless voices around you, the amount of people pushing into each other or determined to get as close to the stage as humanly possible was unreal. The front end of the crowd was incredibly squashed, but people still found room to mosh. This was another set dominated by newer material, songs from ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ flowed strongly, and it was once again incredible how well these songs were received. We were treated to some older material though as the iconic track ‘Early Grave’ was performed early on.
What really caught my attention was the lighting, especially during ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ as the light movements matched the frantic guitar work performed by stand in Sylosis member Josh Middleton. The colour scheme, strobes, the spotlights shining out into the smokey room mixed with the incredible musicianship on show was mind-blowing.
The energy didn’t stop in the slightest, some songs were pure pit starters, such as ‘The Devil Is Near’ and ‘Naysayer’, then there were others like a reprise of ‘Follow The Water’ and ‘Gravity’, which were designed for massive singalongs. It was well-balanced out and the crowd were up for it the entire time, giving all of their attention to what Architects were throwing their way.
Chants of “Architects” and “Tom” from the crowd erupted every so often and you could tell how emotional this occasion was for everyone, the band and the fans. Sam Carter mentioned that this was a celebration of his life, dedicating songs to the Searle family. Carter all said he didn’t want the night to end, everything to him was perfect, the mood, the crowd, the occasion. Everything meant so much to the frontman.
Before the final song ‘Gone With The Wind’, Tom’s brother and band member Dan Searle gave an even more, heart rendering speech about his Tom and the band, the roads they have travelled to get where they are now, impressively selling out the famous Brixton Academy. The crowd was scarily silent during these speeches and you could see the odd fan really teary eyed.
This will be a set I’ll never forget, even for someone who wouldn’t call themselves a die-hard Architects fan like the vast majority of the crowd was. I have never seen the venue so alive before as it was on this night. I have only once seen a set before that was this heart wrenching for a lot of people. Architects were flawless and Bury Tomorrow made such a name for themselves as the next big thing in British metal.