Never in my time of attending gigs have I ever seen a queue as long as the one outside of Manchester HMV Ritz tonight. Unfortunately opening band Counterparts are thrown on 5 minutes after the doors open and it’s left to them to impress a crowd which is filling up the venue very, very slowly. Although their set should be ridden with infectious breakdowns and high octane energy, songs off of their latest album “The Difference Between Hell and Home” don’t quite cut it tonight due to the patchy sound and seemingly uninterested crowd. Songs such as ‘Ghost’, ‘Witness’ and ‘Slave’ are included in tonight’s set, and although these hardcore anthems in the making should be packing more punch than a freight train in a live environment, regrettably they don’t tonight, leaving the rather cold and impatient crowd begging for the next band to come on.

Tonight there are a hell of a lot of Blessthefall shirts dotted about the venue, and although the band’s take on breakdown-fuelled, teen-targeted metalcore may not stand them out from similar bands on CD, seeing them live is a whole different story. Opening up with a raucous rendition of ‘You Wear a Crown But You’re Not a King’, Blessthefall captivate the crowd tonight from the word go, releasing a barrage of catchy, infectious, pop-ridden goodness that ignites the Ritz into a sea of movement and headbanging. Although their short but sweet set is heavily built around tracks from their latest album “Hollow Bodies”, Blessthefall give their all into making this one of the finest support slots many tonight will have ever witnessed, blending together power, aggression and emotion to form an intense hybrid sound that blows the roof off of the Ritz. Outstanding!

It’s rare that I go to a gig, jump into the pit and actually fear for my life. However, a band that always incite chaos and anarchy amongst the crowd is Buffalo-based, 10-legged groove machine Every Time I Die. Fresh from the release of their latest album “From Parts Unknown”, Every Time I Die deliver a blinding performance tonight, rivalling the headliners for set of the night. From the word go there are pits, pits and more pits, and even this is not good enough for lead vocalist Keith Buckley who stops ‘Bored Stiff’ around 10 seconds in because the pits aren’t brutal enough! To be honest, it’s a real shame that these guys only got a 45-minute set tonight, as it seems like no time before the band have sped through ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ and ‘The New Black’ before finishing on a haunting performance of ‘Moor’. It’s over before it’s even begun, and Every Time I Die leave Manchester begging for more, as well as incredibly broken and bruised.

Hands down THE hottest band on the current UK rock and metal scene, Architects are beyond words tonight, delivering a flawless performance that has the audience eating out of the palms of their hands from the minute opening track ‘Broken Cross’ kicks in. With a solid 90-minute set spanning across the band’s entire back catalogue, Architects waste no time in ploughing out anthem after anthem in the form of ‘Alpha Omega’, ‘C.A.N.C.E.R.’ and the infectious ‘Naysayer’, ensuring that not even one person is stood still tonight. But why, why you ask? Why do people go crazy for Architects? In a day and age where metalcore and hardcore bands are formed every hour it is rare to find a band that think outside the box, a band who challenge the norms and a band who sound as unique and innovative as Architects, and this is proved in tonight’s set. Bringing out a foam cannon for an monstrous encore of ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ plus the rather atmospheric ‘The Distant Blue’ and ‘Grave Digger’ was an rather good decision, showing that this band are all about the live experience. These songs are made to be played in front of a live crowd and the people of Manchester absolutely loved it tonight. Come back soon, lads.

Counterparts – Official Website
Blessthefall – Official Website
Every Time I Die – Facebook page
Architects – Official Website