Architects – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 18th Feb @ Festival Hall, Melb VIC

Architects melbourne 2023

Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC
February 18, 2023
Supports: Counterparts and Thornhill

The cues were long with the All Ages General Admission sold out and only a few seats remaining. The All Ages tickets meant the alcohol was only available in the below floor basement, which instantly gave this gig a different vibe to other metalcore shows. I first came to Festival Hall for a triple bill of Silverchair/Magic Dirt/Something for Kate in 1997 and having a photo album full of ticket stubs for the venue since, I was taken back to that time with a mix of teenagers, parents and everyone in between here to worship at the altar of heavy music.

Local lads Thornhill kicked off festivities with recent banger ‘Hollywood‘. In defiance of the warm weather outside, this was metalcore in suit jackets & shirts. They got the crowd to move with ‘Coven’ from The Dark Pool, giving singer Jacob Charlton the chance to growl. Despite their second album Heroine moving away from their heavier tunes, they knew their audience and induced a massive singalong for ‘Lily & the Moon’. For such a big hometown gig they made the most of their short time with a good sampler of their sound, closing with the nu-metal tinged ‘Casanova’

I missed the start of Counterparts because the previously mentioned bar situation was awful. Anyway, ‘Bound to Burn’ and ‘Monument’ were awesome and then ‘Love Me’ fucking ruled as it segued into ‘Wings of Nightmares’. Brendan Murphy is quite a fan of silly dance moves but it’s a thumping sound that shakes the hardwood floor. ‘Unwavering Vow’ was also pretty lit but not sure if got the reaction they were going for. There were a few things that were a bit weird soundwise: like the backing tape vocal growls and the missing bass player. The crowd didn’t mind when ‘No Servant of Mine’ went hard and got more necks snapping. They really showed off the vocal range on closing track ‘A Mass Grave of Saints’. Shit was brutal and the crowd was receptive, if a little muted. 

Motivational speaker Richie Hardcore took the stage for a brief talk about violence against women, which was apt considering the crowd make up. This was very different and entirely welcome in light of every other gig I’ve attended at this venue. Think back to Pantera in 2001, which was a testosterone-fueled crowd that has ever existed this side of a UFC fight. The modern metal crowd is much closer to a 50-50 gender split and much more welcoming of LGBTI+ than it was 20 years ago. More on that later. 

Hardcore left the stage as Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ got the crowd pumped. It reflected the night’s mood as a whole. This was a metalcore themed party.

The main event of Architects sent seas of bodies sprawling as they hit ‘Black Lungs’. I got hit for six but joined the circle pit until my sense returned and I remembered this is a younger man’s game. ‘Discourse is Dead’ was the early highlight, the first serious mosh pit of the evening and a massive singalong. ‘Modern Misery’ was the first dip into the older stuff and the chorus was majestic as Sam worked the crowd. ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ also popped up early and was given more juice by guest Jon Green (Deez Nuts) who took the breakdown and proclaimed “This Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land” and topped it off with some deep gutturals. I do wish this moment had a little more airtime, with Australia due to vote on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, there is plenty to be said for representation and this was a great moment for it. 

Also, following ‘that’ incident in Adelaide, it was great to hear fans making the most of the band’s oldest song in their setlist this time around.

The crowd was into everything, to the unfortunate detriment of a couple of fans. The band stopped ‘deep fake’ (and later again for ‘Impermanence’) so medics could attended to fallen punters and when Sam asked for quiet, the crowd obliged. After a polite applause for security we resumed the head banging. ‘tear gas’ was dedicated to Rammestein, a clear influence on that song’s industrial stomp. ‘Giving Blood’ continued the electro theme and crowd gave as good as they got, roaring the chorus back at Sam. It was also apparent that despite the energetic commencement, the band had no desire to make this a short affair – we were getting the full two hours covering most of the two albums (For Those That Wish To Exist and the classic symptoms of a broken spirit) they’d released since their last visit. How the fuck Sam kept going wearing a long sleeve cowboy shirt I dunno.

He demonstrated his continued no peer pressure stance by declining a shooey despite the vocal crowd chants, citing an unwillingness to soil the only pair of boots he brought, and declaring it a shooey safe space. He appeared to have changed his tune when someone threw a shoe on stage but after a tease tossed it back into the crowd. These dudes have tunes for our times and a packed venue ready to eat it all up, shooey or not.

Carter’s magnetism is critical to their live performance so he called us to shake our hips for ‘Little Wonder’ and got us on our knees for the breakdown. It was just anthem after anthem the rest of the way. For me, it was important that the stadium-sized single ‘Dead Butterflies’ lived up to the hype and the band nailed it, with plenty of crowd participation.

They got to the old stuff, like ‘A Match Made in Heaven’, and had the fans climbing shoulders and sending bodies over the barrier towards the stage. ‘Royal Beggars’ blew the roof off. There was a brief interlude as a break and the band returned with acoustic guitars & piano for ‘Momento Mori’. Sam stopped for a cup and tea and thanked fans for letting them “be the band we want to be.” Cue ‘A Wasted Hymn’. It was a genuinely beautiful moment. 

We stopped again as Sam admitted he was on the phone at 3am to his fiancé in tears as he dealt with whatever is on his mind. It was a brave move but fit the mood of the crowd and was met with respectful applause. Frontmen like Sam Carter are a reflection of where we are, far from the cod pieces and toxic masculinity on stage of the 80s and nu-metal 2000s. That a crowd as diverse as this could peacefully coexist is one of the best things about the modern metal scene. Such a thing would’ve been inconceivable even fifteen years ago. The musical result of this moment was the gripping run through of ‘burn down my house’.

As a one two punch how the holy hell do you top ‘Hereafter’ and ‘Doomsday’ to close a set?

You encore with ‘Nihilist’ of course. Let me catch my breath boys! We weren’t done though, as ‘when we were young’ finally saw Sam remove the shirt and a truly epic rendition of ‘Animals’ shook the old Hall’s foundations. As we poured out into the night I reflected back on the bands I had seen on that floor from Slipknot’s Australian debut, Machine Head’s Halloween dress up, Slayer’s thrash onslaught to Megadeth’s Gigantours, a sweaty Tenacious D and that final Pantera tour. I would comfortably put this Architects show among them and left comforted by the fact that the kids are going to be alright. 

Words by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram), who in addition to the heavy bands mentioned has also been to Festival Hall for Justin Timberlake, Cold Chisel and The Cat Empire. May it never close down. 

Revisit our pre-tour interview with Sam Carter right here

Photo Gallery by Clinton Hatfield. Insta:
Please credit Wall of Sound and Clinton Hatfield if you repost photos.




Architects – 2023 Australian Tour

Feb 22 – Brisbane – Fortitude Music Hall (venue change)

Tickets Here

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