There are nights when you walk into a room and instantly know that you are in for something special. There’s a feeling in the air, one that hints of everyone being on and ready for what is to come. It’s one that was crackling in the ABC on Sunday night as Architects arrive in Glasgow.
Which must be brilliant for a band like Stick To Your Guns; when you are opening up these kinds of tours you must dread playing to half empty rooms where the crowd is more interested in catching up with their mate and getting a beer. Not tonight, though. Before they even hit the stage the first Here We Go chant has rung out, and the pit opens. This is a hungry crowd and Stick To Your Guns’ brand of OC hardcore is the perfect appetiser to their night. Not only is their music designed to have you punching yourself in the face with glee but they also have something to say. Lead singer Jesse Barnett (who is celebrating his birthday) has no issue with standing on stage and talking about what he believes in. Which is baffling considering we apparently don’t have any political bands anymore…
Bury Tomorrow are up next and honestly by the crowd reaction you could be forgiven for believing they were the headliners. Earthbound was the album where these guys finally nailed their sound, getting the right mix of those epic choruses alongside their heavier elements and it pays off at shows like this. Throw in tracks like ‘Lionheart’ – which everyone in the arena seems to know the words to – and you are on track for success. Occasionally they still wander too far into the melodic, the chorus of ‘Memories’ feels a bit too much like it was designed for big venues, but when they are this good who cares. If there’s any justice, this will be the last time you see Bury Tomorrow playing second fiddle to another band in places this size.
The very fact that Architects are on stage at this time is a miracle. A year that started so bright for them with the incredible All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us took a turn that no-one out with that camp saw coming. If they had packed up and gone home after that, there’s not a single person who would have held it against them. And yet, there’s a real feeling from the second they take that stage that this is something they had to do. That for that band these shows are playing tribute to Tom Searle and to stand on stage and play his songs is both the hardest and the best thing they can do.
Because what fucking songs they are. Architects have always been one of the UK’s better bands but as you watch them break this venue and then build it back up again you have to step back and accept that they are now in a league of one. From the second they launch into ‘Nihilist’, you realise that there should never have been a doubt that they would sell out venues this size. In fact, if they decide they can keep going this feels like it should only be the beginning. The songs from All Our Gods… have seen them mature and the technicality and intelligence that was always there is now even more prominent in their music.
Which means that whether they are playing songs old or new they all sound incredible. With Josh Middleton of Sylosis stepping in on guitar the whole thing is so big that you can’t quite decide what to grasp a hold of. It’s a sonic experience that bears as much resemblance to bands like Behemoth (even if not in the style of metal being played) as it does their supposed peers.
Throw in a light show that rivals the best, and suddenly you realise that Architects aren’t a small band anymore. They’re not one of those brilliant secrets that those in the know can delight in having in their pocket. Which is the best thing in the fucking world. There are few bands on the planet that deserve it more. The only downside it that it has to come right after the devastation of earlier this year.
In a year/month/week where the whole world seems to be intent on kicking us every time we turn around this kind of show reminds you why music is as important as it is. Stick To Your Guns, Bury Tomorrow and Architects are three breathtaking bands who all have something to say. They take their music and use it both as a platform to have fun and to make a point. This is what metal is about and thank fuck we have them.