Over three long years ago, many predicted that Architects’ headline show at KOKO on the eve of the release of The Here and Now was the start of an album campaign that would catapult the band into mainstream greatness. That didn’t happen, and the band have spent several years working on rebuilding the momentum that got them to that point. Now they’re back at the venue where that journey began at – will history repeat itself? Gavin Lloyd was on hand to bear witness.
6 things we learnt watching Architects in London:
1) It may be partly due to the fact that they are on at 6:15pm, or that KOKO just isn’t the right room for them, but Landscapes don’t connect with those gathered to watch them. Their breed of intense hardcore is gruelling and doesn’t pack the emotional punch of many of their peers. It’s a set that hardly screams get the beers in and ends up feeling like somewhat of a chore. Even the early-doors, pre-pubescent eager beavers are left motionless and unimpressed.
2) The name Northlane has been followed by a string of hyperbole of late, and while they may not be quite as amazing as this burgeoning reputation would have you believe, there are a lot of people here tonight who do share that enthusiasm. The band offer little new to the metalcore table but at least they’re checking the boxes with style. A guitar tone that borders on djent, opportune moments for the assembled to do an en cue gang vocal and breakdowns that signal the first pits of the night offer the crowd exactly what they were looking for.
3) It’s no secret Stray From The Path owe a lot to Rage Against The Machine, but seeing as Tom Morello and co. only seem concerned with cash-in festival appearance, SFTP make a decent stand-in. They don’t have any songs that are in the same banger league of the likes of ‘Guerrilla Radio’, but they’re hands down the most fun on tonight’s bill. Their government-baiting rhetoric might be meant to be taken extremely seriously, but their angsty, politico rap rock is very much the light relief of tonight’s show.
4) Having just released their best album in a long time, Architects seem energised because of it. Tonight’s set understandably weighs in favour of Lost Forever//Lost Together, and the new cuts from the record sound huge. The band strike a perfect balance between spectacle and intimate; the aplomb of their performance is complemented by the kind of mosh warzone you’d more expect to see at a packed sweatbox show. Frontman Sam Carter regularly climbing onto speaker stacks and diving into the crowd only further escalates the intensity of tonight’s performance.
5) Despite the scornful nature of their music and a subtle stage show that often sees the five men basking in shadows, there is an overwhelmingly positive feeling in the room – the fans aren’t shy about showing their love for this band. It may not make much sense on paper, but hearing a room full of people scream “you fucking pigs!” at the top of their lungs is a wonderful thing.
6) When you consider that Architects were headlining this venue back in 2010, a triumphant show here in 2014 is bitter-sweet. Their career went off course in those intervening years, so it’s no surprise the likes of ‘Heartburn’ have been dropped from their setlist. They may not have reached the heights some were predicting for them, but they’re in a better position right now than they’ve been in a long time. They established themselves as a slick live prospect a long time ago, but it’s the reaction their new songs get from the crowd that really implies the future is looking a lot brighter for Architects.
Architects’s new album, Lost Forever // Lost Together, is out now on Epitaph.