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ArchiveColosseum Theater, Essen, Germany
20th September 2019

For exciting past 25 years, the band-collective ARCHIVE around the masterminds Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths is making music. The long and successful career of the London project includes twelve studio albums, each a masterpiece in its own right, and all together testimony to a towering musical development. Even if the typical sound always remains recognizable, none of this record is the same as the others. This is also proven by the compilation with the fitting name ‘25’, which ARCHIVE released for the anniversary in May.

The compilation contains 43 tracks from all creative periods on six vinyl discs, including seven new compositions and the pre-single ‘Remains Of Nothing’, a collaboration with the BAND OF SKULLS. Add to that a 10-inch EP and a seven-inch single and a 160-page book full of interviews with current and former members and exclusive photos from the band’s private albums - a great tour through the ARCHIVE universe and a carefree package for all fans. Since its founding in 1994, Keeler and Griffiths have been working together, and the mutual respect and the desire to make each other perform to their fullest, shoving off the beaten path, and always looking for the new excitement make up their recipe for success. In particular, ARCHIVE have repeatedly set standards with their shows. They staged their music with big and lavishly produced visuals; they even made their own movie about the album ‘Axiom’ and played it before the concert.

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And of course they are back for an extensive European anniversary tour, during which they are playing eight concerts in Germany alone in autumn. This time around, ARCHIVE have chosen a very special setting for themselves and their fans, and whoever has seen the band live knows what kind of acoustic and visual impact is coming. The band collective had always a different setting in the past years. Today, besides Keeler and Griffiths, there are Pollard Berrier, Rosko John, Dave Pen, Maria Q, Smiley, Steve Harris, Steve Davis, Jonathan Noyce, Holly Martin and Mickey Hurcombe. Almost all of them travelled to the Colosseum Theater in Essen to celebrate their 25th anniversary together with their fans from around the Ruhrpott. /

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Music & Performance
I don’t know if ARCHIVE wanted their older fans having a comfortable evening sitting on seats, but indeed the seats were very snuggly. Maybe that was the reason why the almost 700 guests waited almost until the end to get off their seats. The show started at 8:00 p.m. and it was a fulminant musical performance, so I’m sure it’s the cosy chairs to blame for the late rising of the audience. During the first ten minutes, spherical sounds came from the background, and the stage appeared in a dark-blue light. Unfortunately for all the photographers, the light did not come out better, but when the band entered the stage, the diffuse soundscapes ended up in the wonderful ‘You Make Me Feel’ taken from the 1999 album ‘Take My Head’. Maria Q and Holly Martin performed an impressive singing, and then the seven sirs took over and performed the hypnotic ‘Fuck U’ (2004 album ‘Noise’). The song got stronger and more intense, and the same happened to the next, rhythmic and drums-oriented song ‘Pills’, taken from the 2009 album ‘Controlling Crowds’

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The dark-haired Maria Q returned back to the microphone, which was dipped in green flashes, while green beam bundles broke through the blue stage illumination during the performance of the calmer ‘Bullets’. After a restrained beginning, the song then became danceable, but the chic theatre atmosphere caused a noble reserve in the audience. ‘King of Speed’ from the ‘Controlling Crowds’ album was a calm contrast, before ‘Kid Corner’ (2015 album ‘Restriction’) united booming drums, red light, drama, and the vocals of the blonde Holly Martin and the well-guarded Pollard Berrier. To mention is the dominant bass, which gave the song a brachial end, and not less brachial was ‘Violently’ (2012 album ‘With Us Until You’re Dead’). With his keys and buttons, Darius Keeler acted like a conductor and performed a “robot dance” in white light cones. In 2006, the album ‘Lights’ was released, and it’s pushing song ‘System’ was performed now. Singer Dave Pen took the six-string after hitting the drum. When singing ‘Remain of Nothing’, taken from the earlier released anniversary series ‘25’, he gave proof of his skills to sing very high tones, while Pollard took over the rhythmic talking, and Holly spread her female charm.

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‘Erase’, another song that was born this year, is characterized by grand emotions and a forward-pushing sound, and it was followed seamlessly by the expressive ‘Finding It So Hard’. With this repetitive song dominated by synthesizer sounds, the year 2002 with its long player ‘You All Look The Same To Me’ came alive. ‘End of Days’ and ‘Collapse/Collide’ brought Maria Q and Miss Martin back in the spotlight and supported by their men, it became very emotional. Then, with the striking ‘Controlling Crowds’, the men alone held the emotional atmosphere. For the great finale, where Mr. Pen again was centre of the spotlight, the great ‘Dangervisit’ was unleashed, while green light speckles danced over the left wall of the theatre, and this definitely was a very special and intense moment at the Colosseum. And from now on, the audience was no longer willing to sit on their seats, and after two hours of performing, there were standing ovations provided by the entire crowd, and no longer just by a few enthralled fans jumping off their seats.

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After a short break, ARCHIVE encored two times. They started with ‘Lights’ that immediately was welcomed with excitement and was performed and celebrated in detail. The song ended with a long instrumental part that shook the audience to the core. Then, ‘Again’ and its acoustic guitar provided the emotional final chord. Two and a half hours passed quickly, and after due applause for all nine artists, ARCHIVE said goodbye to their completely impressed fans. In retrospect, I can’t say if standing and dancing had been the better experience. In any case, I enjoyed seeing and hearing the striking music of ARCHIVE in such a way. Let’s go for the next 25 years!

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01. You Make Me Feel
02. Fuck U
03. Pills
04. Bullets
05. Kings of Speed
06. Kid Corner
07. Violently
08. System
09. Remains of Nothing
10. Erase
11. Finding It So Hard
12. End of Our Days
13. Collapse/Collide
14. Controlling Crowds
15. Dangervisit
16. Lights
17. Again

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 9 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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