It might be a cliché, but this really is the hottest ticket in town. As the queue to enter Alexandra Palace snakes around the corner and out of sight, the atmosphere is electric already, bringing a comforting warmth to the chilly weather atop Muswell Hill. Eighteen months ago, the notion of ARCHITECTS performing here would have been but a dream; they now have a sold out, 10,000 capacity room to play in front of tonight, and they couldn’t be more deserving of it.
First up, however, are COUNTERPARTS who have the bit between their teeth and a healthy audience given earlier concerns. “We were worried because we saw all of your tweets about not getting in,” explains frontman Brendan Murphy, “but it looks like there’s about 5,000 of you, so that’s alright!” It’s better than alright – they’re tight, abundant in energy and an excellent choice to open a gig of this magnitude. The likes of No Servant of Mine and Swim Beneath My Skin go down an absolute storm and COUNTERPARTS respond to a rabid crowd with earnest as they tear through Thieves and The Disconnect on the way to an explosive finish. It’s an assured, confident and truly great performance from the Canadians.
Within a quarter of an hour of their departure, WHILE SHE SLEEPS arrive and crank the pressure up to above fever pitch. Along with tonight’s headliners they’re in a class of their own when it comes to British metal and on the basis of performances like this, it isn’t hard to see why. This is the first night of their own tour supporting the incredible You Are We which dropped last year and they waste little time throwing out stone-cold ragers to whip up even more of a frenzy, especially a breathtaking rendition of Brainwashed. Ten years into their career and they’re clearly having more fun than ever before, savouring undoubtedly one of their biggest crowds to date and replying in kind. Sure, in a supporting role the set is limited to eight songs, but even then the likes of Civil Isolation, Death Toll and the phenomenal Silence Speaks are present and correct to severely impair eardrums and senses.
But for all that’s preceded them, absolutely nothing is stopping ARCHITECTS from levelling Alexandra Palace in the most inspired of ways tonight. The shout that comes up before they’ve even played a note is nothing short of biblical and A Match Made in Heaven incites absolute bedlam, especially when followed up by the incredible Downfall. Musically, they couldn’t be any better; Josh Middleton of SYLOSIS has filled the position so tragically left by the late Tom Searle admirably well given the shoes he’s stepped into, but along with the brilliance of Adam Christianson the sonic barrage from the guitarists that sweeps through the main room excites, inspires and moves every individual present at the same time. Tom’s twin brother Dan is beating seven shades out of his drumkit whilst Alex Dean is a man possessed on bass and Sam Carter puts in arguably the vocal performance of his career, the likes of Broken Cross and Gravity keeping the momentum at an extraordinary pace. Along with an impressive stage show involving lasers, pyro and a giant circular screen a la PINK FLOYD, ARCHITECTS are delivering in every single area and God, how good is it to say that. Most recent single Doomsday flattens the place once again as the last song of the main set, before Dan takes to the mic and speaks out how Tom would be tearing up at the sight of 10,000 people listening and singing his songs; cue waterworks on full from pretty much everyone in attendance, especially when Sam mentions that Dan is becoming a father later this year. As the band finish on a truly sumptuous Gone With the Wind and the aforementioned screen shows the letters TS inside a massive heart, it’s clear that this will be the concert every other is compared in 2018 – topping it will be nigh on impossible.