ARCHITECTS + Misery Signals. O2 Academy, Oxford. 29.01.09

OK, so a big part of tonight is about British boys making good, about a young band becoming a big deal, and about Architects going from energetic support-slot show-stealers to bona fide headliner status. And yeah, it’s been bloody brilliant watching them go from playing to just a few people a few years ago to a few hundred tonight. But something is not quite right.

The problem certainly isn’t Misery Signals. The Milwaukee outfit power through a stunning set- ‘In Response To Stars’, ‘The Failsafe’, and feral rager ‘Weight Of The World’ all highlights- and in just 30 minutes prove that they marry crushing intensity to emotional beauty better than anyone else in this scene. Superb.

Which was always going to leave a lot for the headliners to do. But it’s not energy that Architects lack, it’s not material (album number three ‘Hollow Crown’ dropped this week), and it’s certainly not confidence either- the band storm out like stars to an incredible reception. No, the one thing that truly taints proceedings is the attitude, and just how much it stinks.

Sure, songs like ‘To The Death’ and ‘Early Grave’ sound like the building might be caving in and frontman Sam Carter sounds plenty ferocious and passionate, but he also possesses an unstoppable potty mouth and desire to see the crowd punch and kick their way through the gig. At one point he demands more action on the floor only to berate the audience for not paying enough attention to the stage. Yes, his job is getting people going but Carter stirs this pit so hard it becomes tricky for anyone outside of it to enjoy themselves. And lines like “when this next song starts, punch your best friend in the face” are just stupid.

It’s good to see the band make it here, a UK group powering along under their own steam, but instead of grown men arriving in Oxford to claim their place by letting their admittedly ace music do the talking, Architects come across like bratty kids tonight, short of the real deal. Shame.