Architects, Rolo Tomassi and Stray From The Path: Corporation, Sheffield

Even being relatively young at the ripe old age of 21 (or so I’d like to think) I’m feeling a little bit old tonight at Corp. It’s all body piercings, dyed hair and ill-fitting vests tonight, all set for the return of local heroes Rolo Tomassi who despite playing plenty of Sheffield dates haven’t played at Corporation for a good couple of years. Throw Architects into the equation and it’s apparent that there won’t be many crowd members going home unfulfilled!

First up for the night though are Stray From The Path, all the way from Long Island, New York. Maybe it’s the fact that somebody is so blind drunk that they keep trying to jump on my back, but I’m not really feeling it. As far as the crowd is concerned the guys from Long Island do alright but in reality their reaction throughout the set is as lukewarm as the can of Red Stripe that I’ve been forced to quaff down.

A fairly tired set of hardcore songs later and it’s soon time for Rolo Tomassi. It’s a chance to get a look at their new line-up for the first time as they unveil a new bass player and lead guitarist (Nathan Fairweather and Chris Cayford respectively) and some new material. They make a typically auspicious start with ‘Howl’, a new track but early on it’s striking how out of place the new members look. Fairweather in particular looks like a rabbit in the headlights and between the two of them there are certainly some hairy moments early in the set. Luckily, drummer Ed Dutton is there to hold Fairweather’s hand in terms of timing and they weather the storm to deliver some real highlights from Rolo Tomassi’s back catalogue. Cosmology, Kasia and I Love Turbulence all get a showing and they’re absolutely brilliant live. Eva Spence, for some reason the subject of some ridiculous and quite hurtful rumours on this tour, is absolutely flawless vocally throughout, although it’d have been nice to hear her a little more as the levels were a little off. Despite that, they finish with a flourish, absolutely hammering out Party Wounds, which is always a personal highlight for me when I watch the band. It’s a great end to a triumphant return and it’ll be interesting to see how the band’s dynamic develops when the new line up has a few more gigs under their belt. I’d recommend that anybody planning to go to Tramlines Festival checks out their stage this year.

Headliners Architects are an intriguing prospect. The comparisons between them and Sheffield boys Bring Me The Horizon are inevitable, because if you’re being critical, they sound pretty much exactly the same. They’re enjoying major success though and some songs from upcoming album ‘Daybreaker’ get an airing tonight, including ‘These Colours Don’t Run’, a somewhat clichéd attempt at political commentary. That being said, even mediocre songs can be injected with a bit of life when performed live and this is no exception with the crowd whipping itself to a frenzy. Anybody who’s ever visited Corp will know there’s a very hazardously placed pillar just in front of the stage, but rather than shy away from it the crowd spends seemingly the entire set circle-pitting around it, which at one point results in some poor topless teenager giving his head a decent whack during set highlight ‘Hollow Crown’ which sees singer Sam Carter showing off his actual singing voice as opposed to screaming. He’s a bit better at screaming it must be said, but then I’m sure it’s been a long old tour so we’ll let him off with a bit of a pitchy performance. It’s all about the reaction of the crowd with metal-core bands like Architects though and the packed audience doesn’t let up for a second, especially during favourites ‘Buried at Sa’ and ‘To The Death’. It’s a solid show if not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s a victory for math core tonight as Rolo Tomassi, and particularly the infectious and bubbly Eva Spence stole the show. Although I’m sure she didn’t mention that afterwards to boyfriend Tom Searle, who just so happens to be the Architect’s guitarist..