Architects @ Budapest Park, Budapest, Hungary

Words: Miljan Milekić

Seven years is a long time, and that’s how long it’s been since I last saw Architects. It was in October of 2012, in this same city, and also with While She Sleeps. It was a show in Dürer Kert, a lot smaller venue, and I’d say in front of ten times fewer people. I had a chance to meet and interview both bands, and, having in mind those were the first interviews I got to do in person, apart from one or two local bands, that show will always have a special place in my heart. Both bands killed it on stage and turned out to be among the nicest people I’ve ever met. A lot has changed in the past seven years, but this show was the one I was really looking forward to.

From the moment Architects stepped on the stage, it was easy to see how much did this band grow over the years. From a small, club band, they grew into a real big stage sensation and a festival headliner, and honestly, I don’t know many bands who deserved it more. Although, I have to admit it was a bittersweet experience for me. It was the first time I saw them since the loss of Tom Searle, who lost his battle with cancer in 2016, but the rest of the band still keep his spirit alive, and his presence can still be felt in every note they deliver from the stage. The other reason was the choice of those notes they delivered, or even more, the ones they didn’t.

Back in 2012 or 2013, Architects were easily one of my favorite bands, after albums like ‘The Here and Now,’ and ‘Daybreaker,’ however, the direction they took with ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ and later albums didn’t really sit well with me. I do love some of the songs, and by no means, I’d say any of the newer records are bad, but it’s the two I mentioned that appeal to me the most. So, the set consisting entirely of the songs from the past three records wouldn’t be my ideal choice, but after a performance like this, any complaining would pretty much turn me into Statler or Waldorf.

It’s insane, however, how much the band grew over the years, especially looking at the way they did it. They were never crowd-pleasers, they never got into the mainstream, they stayed true to what they wanted, and still, here they are, headlining the show in front of four of five thousand people, in the same city they played for three or four hundred not so long ago. And it’s not only the crowd that got bigger. Technically and production-wise, the band is on a whole new level. From the very beginning to the very end, the band was like a well-oiled machine, firing at all cylinders. Sam Carter was leading the pack with his insane vocals, while the rest of the band followed. Actually, the band was so spot-on, so tight that I actually missed some of the raw energy from their club shows. Also, I missed a little bit more stage presence from the other guys, apart from Carter.

However, it didn’t hurt the show too much. Song after song, the band was delivering bangers, to approval from the crowd. From ‘Naysayer’ and ‘Gravedigger,’ to ‘A Match Made in Heaven,’ ‘Downfall,’ and ‘Gravity,’ all the way to the newest numbers such as ‘Royal Beggars,’ ‘Modern Misery,’ and ‘Hereafter,’ the crowd was frantically singing every word with the band. As expected, things got the wildest at the very end – during the encore with massive ‘Gone With the Wind,’ and huge, larger-than-life, ‘Doomsday.’ The latter is probably the best and the biggest song the band ever released, and on this occasion, it was preceded by a long and very emotional speech from Carter.

He talked about Tom Searle, their career as a band, the amazing support they always had in Budapest, as well as the hard times he, and the rest of the band were going through mentally over the years, and especially after Tom‘s passing. Sam Carter may not be a showman. He may not be the greatest frontman out there, but he is just the kind the band needs. Quiet, sincere, down to Earth, and respectful. I may not be the biggest fan of their latest work, but I’m well aware that Architects are more than a band. Their songs are more than music, and their fans are more than a crowd. And that’s something I’ll always respect.

With Architects alone, this show would be worth watching, but with the support they had, it was even more amazing. Unfortunately, Liverpool’s Loathe got on the stage as we were entering Budapest, and finished their set just as we were entering the venue. However, we got to see Rolo Tomassi. We missed them a couple of days ago at the Wrong Fest, so this opportunity was more than welcome. Although fighting with awful heat and direct sunlight for the whole time, they delivered an energetic set, delivering post-rock, post-hardcore, and metalcore elements into a well-balanced mix. The early slot and a massive heat meant that most of the crows were in “pockets” all over the venue, looking for shadows and watching from afar, but they did have quite a few fans in front of them, so the feedback was there.

The third band of the night was maybe even the bigger reason to come to this show than the Architects themselves. While She Sleeps are one of the rare bands I can say I grew up with. I became a fan when I first heard ‘This Is the Six,’ they are one of my favorite bands ever since. I saw them back in 2012 with Architects, I saw them in front of fewer than 200 people in Belgrade in 2016, and in front of 10 000 people, only a week later when they were supporting Bring Me The Horizon in Brussels.

Now, with not only one, but two albums released since I last saw them, this was the set I didn’t want to miss. Although the band was without their singer Lawrence Taylor, who had to pull out of this tour, Bleed From Within vocalist Scott Kennedy stepped in and did his job flawlessly. I wouldn’t use the word “replaces,” as I genuinely don’t think someone like Loz can be replaced, but also as Kennedy didn’t try to fill his shoes. He did his own thing and made it work with the rest of the band.

It didn’t take long for While She Sleeps to fire up the venue, as they only had nine songs, so they focused on heavy-hitters. If the opening with ‘You Are We’ didn’t get everyone going wild, ‘Anti-Social’ and ‘Brainwash’ that came in next did. The band threw in a couple more new songs in the shape of ‘Haunt Me’ and ‘The Guity Party,’ combined them with older numbers such as ‘Four Walls’ and ‘Civil Isolation’ before closing their set with massive, massive renditions of ‘Silence Speaks’ and ‘Hurricane.’

What I love the most about this band is their raw, punk approach. Technically, they are tight as the band can be, their energy level is insane, even without Loz on the stage, and they don’t spare themselves even for a second. They fought the heat, they were facing directly to the sun the whole time, and yet, they looked like there was no other place they’d rather be. It was a bit of a surprise they didn’t play anything from ‘This Is the Six’ or ‘The North Stands for Nothing,’ but given the circumstances, and the short slot, It’s easy to forgive them. If nothing, it’s just added to the motivation to see them again. And I hope it will be soon.

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