27th February 2015
You cannot really accuse ARCHIVE of idleness. The London-based Trip Hop, Indie and Post Rock collective surrounding Darius Keeler and Danny Griffith did not only release their tenth record ‘Restriction’ recently but another record called ‘Axiom’ also made it into the stores, the most elaborate project they have released so far and which they simultaneously connected with a 40 minutes long short film. The film was developed in cooperation with the Spanish film collective NYSU and if there is a band predestined to create its own soundtrack it's most definitely ARCHIVE. The Brits are currently on tour so the opportunity to put on a show for fans in Dortmund's FZW had to be taken.
The ARCHIVE project started around Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths in 1994. Together with the female singer Roya Arab and the young rapper Rosko John, the band released their first album ‘Londinium’ on Island Records in 1996. But ARCHIVE was doomed to break up the same year due to internal problems. The bands reformation, however, came to pass already in 1997 with an altered line-up surrounding Keeler and Griffiths with which they recorded and released the follow-up ‘Take My Head’ in 1999 which in hindsight is described by the band as their least favourite. The next three albums, released in the following years brought them back to a more progressive approach to composing their music after the poppy foray with the second album. That back to the roots attitude brought forth milestones such as ‘Noise’ and a few years later the highly regarded ‘Lights’. ‘Controlling Crowds’, released in 2009 started of a four part conceptual cycle completed within the same year. The latest album, ‘Restriction’, was released in January 2015. ARCHIVE is Darius Keeler (synths, piano), Danny Griffiths (keys, samples), Pollard Berrier (vocals, guitar), Rosko John (vocals), Dave Penney (guitar, vocals), Maria Q (vocals), Smiley (drums), Steve Harris (guitar), Steve Davis (bass), Jonathan Noyce (bass), Holly Martin (vocals) and Mickey Hurcombe (guitar, keys). http://www.archiveofficial.com / http://www.facebook.com/ArchiveOfficial /
Music & Performance
However, it wasn't widespread news that this multimedia event would already start at 19.30 so the concert venue filled quite slowly at the beginning, some attendants probably had to wait for a baby sitter as the audience had outgrown their teens quite some time ago. Thus some of the around 1,000 attendants were fans from ARCHIVE's very beginning which dates back to 1994. Instead of a support act, one could gaze at Axiom’s verbal and visual excellence. A nice debut, however, the screens at the edge of the stage could have been one size bigger and overall, nothing can compete with a really wonderful live concert in the end. At 20.30, the gentlemen entered the stage and managed quite a sexy start with ‘Feel it’ from the current silver disk. Numerous video installations flickered through the three screens in the background which also depicted some of the band members in close-up shots later on. The blonde Holly Martin was responsible for the female vocals whereas Maria Q couldn't be detected anywhere during the evening. We'll see whether she'll be part of the line-up in the upcoming week. But not only optically did Holly cut a good figure and with ‘You Make Me Feel’ from the 1999 record ‘Take My Head’ she served one of the first highlights of the evening. The long-haired Pollard Berrier took over the vocals for the calm, empathic classic ‘Dangervisit’ before Miss Martin proved the highly emotional potential of the new record with ‘Black and Blue’.
Shortly after, Dave Pen provided a suitable groove with ‘Nothing Else’ from the 1996 debut ‘Londinium’ - and was naturally supported by the whole crew. Darius Keeler seemed a bit like the conductor of a huge orchestra who couldn't keep still while Danny Griffith was doing his own thing easily on the opposite side of the stage. Smiley remained powerful behind his drums and also the guitarists showed off their temperament and enthusiasm. While the stage got lit in blue shades, the first sounds of ‘Bullets’ were received with great delight by the crowd and lots of applause. In no way inferior to that stood the pulsating ‘Ruination’ and the rhythmic ‘Crushed’ underlined the incredible stage capability of the new songs which need a bit longer on the record to develop their full effect. ‘Conflict’ and ‘Violently’ were only released on ‘With Us Until You're Dead’ in 2012 but have already reached evergreen status, consequently getting celebrated accordingly before Holly could take over the spherical cool-down with ‘End of Our Days’. ‘Third Quarter Storm’ was intonated nature – and accompanied by disturbing electronic attacks. It was followed by the grumbling monster ‘Bridge Scene’ off the 2003 soundtrack ‘Michel Vaillant’ before ‘Ladders’ took over with mysterious melodies. Some last light thunders illuminated the stage during ‘Numb’ which caused the crowd to wildly applause again. Then ARCHIVE left the stage after 1 ½ hours for a short break and came back under the motto “The best comes last”.
The setlist still promised the wonderful ‘Lights’ from the record of the same name. After 110 minutes and an eruptive finale, the show found its definite end. A few words (which ARCHIVE don't frequent) and a few bows later and the spectacle was over again. It's a good thing that the group is so hard-working and will make an appearance nearby in the next week, a perfect opportunity for an encore as ARCHIVE'S powerful music doesn't get boring and the show is definitely worth seeing several times.
01. Distorted Angels
04. Transmission Data Terminate
05. The Noise of Flames Crashing
07. Axiom (Reprise)
01. Feel It
02. Kid Corner
03. You Make Me Feel
05. Black And Blue
06. Nothing Else
07. Blood in Numbers
13. End of Our Days
14. Third Quarter Storm
15. Bridge Scene
Total: 9.5 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)
Written by Ulrike Meyer-Potthoff, Translation by Alex UltraRiot