REVIEW: Architects – Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast

a4 The classy cobbles of Gordon Street, Belfast were tainted by angsty and apprehensive teens, waiting outside the Oh Yeah Music Centre in anticipation for the Architects show.

Blasé 20-somethings were also noticeable, demonstrating that this gig was a melting pot of ages and also genres of people.  In total there were 180 people gracing the venue, a far cry from the centre’s usual 400 capacity rate.

As a bouncer told me, they “had to allow room for all these crazy ones bouncing around.”  He was definitely right about that.  180 sweaty bodies allowed for a sold out show and thus, paved the way for a spectacular night for the fans of Architects.

The first supporting act of the evening was We Collide, an alternative metal band from our very own capital city.  Although the band gave a decent opening, it seemed like they were slightly out of their depth.  The sound wasn’t up to par and extensively drowned out lead singer, Ricky’s vocals.  They had good intentions but sadly didn’t meet expectations.  Despite the overall lacklustre crowd reaction, like most bands of this genre, they called for a “wall of death ” to be formed.  The teens of the crowd followed suit, whilst the older members of the audience looked on in sheer boredom and dismay, clearly now growing tiresome of We Collide‘s set.

a3The next act to adorn the stage was a metal band native of Dublin known as Red Enemy.  This amalgamation of musicians appeared far more well received than their predecessors.  Possibly because they were better known by the crowd, or maybe just due to the fact they were admittedly, a better ensemble.  Kevin’s vocals were superior, as was their sound.  The highly energetic guitarist and bassist provided ample head banging, guiding the majority of the crowd to imitate the action.  Red Enemy were a more intriguing and crowd-pleasing band and also somewhat more influential on the liveliness of the sellout.  However, like We Collide, Red Enemy lost quite a bit of crowd interest nearing the end of their set.  It was clear that despite the fitting supporting acts, the crowd were here to see Architects and were anxious for them to take to the stage.

Whilst Architects prepared for their portion of the show, the majority pressed their way toward the front, eager to secure a place in front of the stage.  Chanting then began for Architects to begin, the fans were growing impatient!  Eventually, after what seemed like forever, they took their places on the stage and the mass were only then, wholly interested and engrossed.  The supporting acts now seemed unimportant, the real stars of the show were at last here.

a1Vocalist Sam Carter had remarkably strong vocals throughout the performance.  His coarse and tortured screaming style was somewhat stunning and highly impressive.  As with all of their songs, violent and complex riffs are incorporated, alongside the rumbling, bone-rattling bass.  The drums have a thrashing, rough sound, perfectly apt for the style of music.  All together, these talented musicians create an earth-shattering set for their Northern Ireland fans.

They begin with “Broken Cross” – an apt song to start the show with.  A gentle build up of electronics starts the song off, before Sam’s gravelly screaming ensues.  Paired with the infectious punchy beat of the music, was a pleasing opening for the crowd.  The unmistakable riffs and breakdowns typical of Architects, is apparent and they kick off the set in an unforgettable way.

Also extremely notable, “Alpha Omega” was just plain awesome.  A mixture of clean and unclean vocals are present and almost in a cult-like way, the adoring crowd bellowed the clean parts of the song back at Architects.  This track is said to be the best on their “Daybreaker” album.  Due to the highly technical riffs and thoughtful lyrics, ultimate ear candy ensued.

A crowd favourite, “Naysayer” was performed, causing every person in the venue to be moving along to the beat in some form or another.  Whether it was toe tapping, head banging or even air guitar and air drums, nobody stood still.  “Naysayer” has aggressive instrumentation and enchanting, catching vocals – anthem-like in many ways.  Room shaking breakdowns occurred and a frenzied mosh pit was formed during these portions of the track.

Unfortunately, not much else can be said about “Early Grave”, other than it was stunning and striking.  This track is exceptionally heavy, most notably during the greatly anticipated mosh pit.  Around 50 members of the crowd bounced around as if they were bulls in a ring chasing after a much sought after red flag.

a2Despite being wholly amazing, the highlight of the Architects set was the performance of “Gravedigger.”  This song was chosen to close the show, and the band summoned all the energy they could muster in order to go out with a bang.  The full crowd, younger and older now go positively insane, screaming the ominous lyrics, “gravedigger, there’s blood on your hands” and jumping up and down as if their lives depended upon it.  The intricate riffs and steady drum beat, matched with Sam’s rugged and haunting vocals, their set ended in a memorable way.  The biggest mosh pit of the night was now created, fans powerfully thrashing and jumping around in a circle formation.  This even prompted bouncers to break a few members of the audience apart before they injured themselves or eachother.  A mosh pit is generally known to be violent and savage.  However, the stomping ground where the fans appeared to be baying for blood, was surprisingly friendly as they ironically helped one another up if someone had fallen.

The Architects show was a success and although the fans were sad to see the band depart the stage, the majority of them rushed outside to claim some much needed fresh air.  Red faces and sweaty bodies were in abundance, yet happiness and contentment prevailed and it was clear that the crowd had thoroughly enjoyed the show. Alannah Houston, GiggingNI.com