Architects played London's Brixton Academy last night (November 18). Here's what we learned.
TONIGHT FEELS LIKE A CELEBRATION
Walking in to Brixton Academy tonight feels like walking into a cathedral. There is a rare, precious sense of unity in the air which dictates that everybody in the room owes it to Architects, to themselves, and most importantly to Tom Searle to render this evening in spectacular technicolour.
To headbang hard, to mosh with every fibre of their body and to scream his words until their lungs can take no more. From the second a front of stage curtain drops and the band blast into an apocalyptic rendition of ‘Nihilist’, it’s clear that those promises will be kept and then some.
THEY SOUND AMAZING
On an evening which is about so much more than just music, musical matters are taken care of stunningly. Galvanised by years of Searle’s exacting perfectionism this is one of the tightest, hardest hitting metal bands the globe has to offer.
A special mention should be made of Sylosis’ Josh Middleton, who, under incredibly difficult circumstances, steps into Tom’s shoes and plays his part with respectful, understated brilliance.
While there is much to be joyful for tonight - main man Sam Carter appears in a state of shocked euphoria for much of the set - there is no denying the deep well of pain at the bottom of it all. At times Sam’s voice devolves into an animal howl, as if he’s channeling the demons directly, while during a red-raw rendition of ‘Gravedigger’ he simply bellows "TOM SEARLE" towards the cavernous ceiling. In places, this is hard to watch.
THERE ARE TEARS
The most powerful moment of the evening doesn’t have a single guitar behind it, though. During the encore Tom’s twin brother, Dan, steps forward from behind the kit to address a room that you could now hear a pin drop in.
That he uses this moment not to invoke the unimaginable misery he has had to endure of late, but rather as an opportunity to encourage the gathered crowd, "Not to accept mediocrity in their lives or sell themselves short" is testament to his character, his strength and his brotherly love. There is not a dry eye in the house.
WE LEARN MORE ABOUT LIFE IN DEATH
As the band close with ‘Gone With The Wind’, a song which, with retrospect, could not be more palpably about Tom’s fight with cancer, it’s hard not to reflect on what an amazing contribution the guitarist made. He leaves behind a body of work which has made nights like this possible and Architects a bona fide national treasure. He did so with a humility, grace and conscience that lives on in the band today. On the basis of tonight’s remarkable performance, they have the capacity continue that work and legacy even in his absence.
And that might be the most fitting tribute of all.