Architects + Misery Signals @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 14th January 2009


Tonight is the first time I’ve visited the Academy 2 since it’s re-branding, courtesy of mobile telecoms company O2, and… oh. They haven’t changed any of the livery. It’s still the Carling Academy 2 by looks, and they still sell Carling behind the bar. Nevermind…

There’s a weird feeling as I enter the venue tonight – the crowd is young. “School age” young. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that kids would be hanging around outside toilets instead of grabbing a beer at the bar. Let’s see how the night progresses.

First up for me tonight is Wisconsin’s Misery Signals, who have come all the way to Blighty to play a 30 minute support slot on this tour, and they’re going to make every second count. Starting off as they mean to go on, with searing riffs and manic double bass drum drumming, they manage to get about half of the (not capacity) crowd going. There appears to be a hardcore of fans up against the barriers, but not much else. In fact, the conversations around me carry on, albeit louder. Much louder. This is mainly due to “the curse of the support act”: poor sound. It’s really hard to get into a band you’ve never heard before when the drums and bass are WAY too loud in the mix, smothering the guitar and vocals. As for “make every second count”, this quickly ends when midway through their set one of the guitarists seems to storm off the stage, leaving the rest of the band to continue without him. There was obviously a problem with his rig, which leaves the crowd wandering round the venue for about five miutes while they try and fix the problem.


Problem fixed, but unfortunately they need to do all the hard work again to get the crowd back on their side, and then their set ends. Sorry guys – better luck next time.

Headlining tonight are Brighton’s Architects, bringing their intense brand of metalcore to the small venue. You know that they’re the headliners, as they’re allowed to have intro music – woo! This signals all the punters who having been hanging around the bogs all evening to come and see the band they paid for. I hope they enjoyed it.

Immediately, you can also tell they they’re headliners as the sound is so much better – more in line with the usual Academy 2 sound, and that they mean business. Within a minute of the first song starting, vocalist Sam Carter is on the barriers at the front, trying to scramble his way over every person there. Unfortunately, security is there to “look after him” and stops him from surfing away too far. Carter doesn’t seem best pleased with this situation, and seems to be trying to kick him in the head, but I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding…


As the circle pit starts to grow in size, you can see all the pent up teenage angst coming out, and as a fist flies between tracks, Carter doesn’t help by proclaiming “Punch your best mate in the face right fucking NOW!”

While the set continues, one thing that is clear about the band is how tight a unit they are. No matter how technical the song gets, or how many time signatures there are, the band are perfectly in time with each other. Unfortunately, it appears that the majority of the crowd would rather watch the goings on in the circle pit than watch the band on stage.


The “real” fans that are there are lapping up their set, which features songs from all their long players such as “To The Death” from their 2006 debut “Nightmares”, “Early Grave” and “Numbers Count For Nothing” from their forthcoming album “Hollow Crown”, and set closer “Buried At Sea” from 2007’s Ruin.

And as soon as “Buried At Sea” is finished, so is the show. No encore, and it appears that the crowd know this, as they’re leaving the venue while the guitars are still ringing. What I don’t understand is why no-one seems to be complaining at the shortness of the set. We work out that they were on stage for about 40 minutes – in my opinion a poor show from a band that have three full length albums of material.

I enjoyed their set, but thought that at points, they may have been too technical – sometime a strong solid riff is better than a mish-mash of time signatures.

Review – Tony Hackett
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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