My Metalcore Mood – Reflecting on Architects at Showbox

Author: Julia Schwab

Photo by Mike Baltierra

I started my last Friday evening in a rush, getting off work just in time to change and meet up with my friends to see Architects, Stick to Your Guns, and Counterparts at the Showbox. I have to be honest, I was surprised I convinced four people to come to this show with me, considering only half of them had really listened to music like this, and those two who did hadn’t thought much about these bands in years. Somehow they did agree though, and I’m glad they joined me for a surprisingly fun night.

This was just my second time at the Showbox, since I usually end up at places like the Vera Project or El Corazon. The first time I was there was for… uh…. a Mayday Parade 10-year tour, which was honestly a shamelessly fun night. It was good to be back at the Showbox again to be in an environment I’m not usually in.

Starting off the night’s three band bill (I love small bills, God bless the three band bill), was Counterparts, who I really looked forward to seeing. The set began with a short instrumental track called “Walk Away Slowly” playing over the speakers. After the intro, the band exploded into face-paced track “Bouquet” off of their most recent album, You’re Not You Anymore (2017).  Vocalist Brendan Murphy set the tone right away with contagiously aggressive energy, which he maintained throughout their entire set. Immediately, the band transitioned into the jackhammering and jarring “Stranger,” then more melodic and smooth “Haunt Me.” I was surprised to see that the energy in the crowd was a lot lower than I expected. Counterparts usually opens up a pretty big pit, but there wasn’t a lot of moshing going on. I think it could be because of the larger venue with stricter security, which hinders the more personal and interactive dynamic that’s special to hardcore. My other hypothesis is that Seattle often seems to have a problem when it comes to bringing the energy in crowds. I’ve noticed the same thing with many other artists, so maybe it’s a combination of both. Regardless of the set lacking the crowd interaction I expected, there were still people definitely into it. Songs like “Thieves” and “Choke” definitely elicited more of a reaction from the crowd. Counterparts closed the set with the classic “The Disconnect” from their 2013 debut album. This was when people went in the most, since it’s their most well-known song, and it made a great last impression of the band.

Photo by Mike Baltierra

The next band was Stick to Your Guns. As veterans to the hardcore scene with six released projects, it was clear that a lot of the audience was here to see them. This was especially evident by the 30-year-old guys immediately crowding to finger point along. The band opened with their most popular song and an anthem in the hardcore scene, “Married to the Noise.” “I found a place to belong so I went all in / I walked right in the mouth of it and never looked back again” boomed through the venue as vocalist Jesse Barnett and the crowd screamed its opening lines. With ecstatic energy, the band transitioned into slightly melodic “Nobody” and then fast-paced “Empty Heads.” Songs like “Cave Canem” highlighted the band’s ability to integrate cleaner vocaled, melodic choruses. Their setlist was a good representation of the band’s varied discography, and it also showcased the power of positivity they put into hardcore with inspiring lyrics. Known for stage ramblings with inspiring messages, Barnett stopped to thank Architects and Counterparts and continued to talk about the value of respect in society, and how we need to relearn to respect each other’s differences. It was refreshing to see a heavy band with such positive messages to share. After a few more songs, Stick to Your Guns closed with another fan favorite, “Against Them All.” The whole band put everything they had left into this last song, and the audience fed off of the energy. Although I’ve never been a big Stick to Your Guns fan, I respected their set and I can see why people are big fans.

Photo by Mike Baltierra

Finally was the headliner, Architects. Architects was the band I was most unfamiliar with, so I didn’t know what to really expect. The stage lit up in lights as they started their set with 2016 hit “A Match Made in Heaven.” Following this were similarly paced songs “Downfall” and “Naysayer.” As the band moved onto “Deathwish,” the crowd brought a little more energy and a decent circle pit opened up. I was surprised to see how dedicated these fans were to see the band, considering I’d never really heard much about them. Vocalist Sam Carter was completely immersed in his performance, moving frantically across the stage and taking advantage of his space. I wasn’t completely impressed by his vocal strength and control, but I have definitely heard much worse heavy vocals before. The crowd shared a special moment with the band when Carter paused between songs to thank everyone for spending their money and time on coming out to the show, and mentioned that they were not only supporting their music but also the legacy of his twin brother and former guitarist, Tom Searle. Tom Searle tragically passed away in 2016 from cancer, and the band has continued on after their loss with strength. The crowd responded by chanting, “Tom! Tom! Tom!”

Photo by Mike Baltierra

Architects’ planned closing song was the tour’s namesake, “Doomsday.” After a booming applause and cheering for an encore, the band returned to finish with “Nihilist” and “Gone With the Wind.” Like Stick to Your Guns, even though I’m not a big Architects fan, I could recognize the appeal they have. All in all, it was a great night to spend with friends, and I enjoyed checking out something new.

Architects: Facebook | Twitter | Website
Stick to Your Guns: Facebook | Twitter | Website
Counterparts: Facebook | Twitter | Website


JULIA SCHWAB | Faith Hlavac’s Best Friend | KXSU Music Reporter

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