With Us Until You’re Dead Tour: a tiny little article about another huge experience
(This is not a concert review!)
Archive knows that the real music is in the silence between the notes.
Anybody who ever seriously listened to Archive must have noticed that in many songs, at some point the music stops, only to continue a moment later, louder, stronger, joyful like an explosion.
Archive is a strange phenomenon. In their music, no human emotion is ever simple. Well, maybe in one or two songs, such as the fantastic, furious and almost funny ‘Fuck U‘ or the fabulously fatalistic ‘Fold‘. In Archive‘s world, there is no light without dark, and they brilliantly succeed in painting the paradoxical colors inbetween. Which is why I dig them and never get bored. Is it possible at all to put words on what music can do? “They don’t give show, they’re shoegazers“, a friend said. And yes, they are totally into their music. No playing around with the audience, no costumes, decors or choreography. Only pure, deep and complex music. What struck me at my first encounter with them was the audience: about two third seemed to be men in their thirties or fourties, many of them with something nerdy (or geeky?) about them. Can we say ‘mature, masculine, and magnetic’? I have yet to meet a person who thinks they’re ‘OK’. You either dig Archive and love them, or you just don’t get it at all. Whatever ‘it’ may be. It is all about the magical gathering of talent, and energy.
How I met Archive
I had bought one of the last tickets in April 2011, and it happened at the Cirque Royal in Brussels. The concert was seated, and my red pluche was on the second row right next to a guy who had made the trip all the way from Amsterdam. “In Holland people simply chat all through a concert, so I rather come to Belgium“, he said. I had not heard much of them, but after a friend had told me they were really making my kind of music, I checked on youtube and got fascinated. They were going to play Controlling Crowds with a Symphonic Orchestra and it was going to be really special. I gave it a chance. And was I happy I did so! From the first notes of ‘Lights‘, a 15 minutes song with the most heart wrenching words sung by Pollard Berrier until the last, I was speechless, moved to tears, and dancing on (and off) my seat. And oh, that Pollard does have an amazing lung capacity!
I saw them again last night, for the third time in about a year. Only the third time, since after the gig we met folk who went to about 6 concerts a week during their tours. I do understand them, as it is hard to ever get enough. On the other hand, I sincerely hope Archive will never be pushed into the star system by public hysteria, press, paperazzi and stalkers. Let’s keep it simple, folk.
And simple it was for me. Standing right in front of Darius Keeler, who (co-)writes many of the songs, I could tell he was having a blast at his keyboards. The two female singers, Maria Q and newcomer Holly Martin kept re-appearing, just like angels. Pollard Berrier seemed to have grown a bit more introvert in his romantic and mysterious aura. And Dave Pen, with his amazing voice full of intelligence and weltschmerz even smiled: “Brussels, you know we love you!” Over two hours of bliss, loud, clear. Serious happiness. Lots of songs of the latest album ‘With us until you’re dead‘, wich I had decided to mostly discover live – no need to say I already have all the previous albums. I was very happy they also played some of the older stuff, such as ‘Again‘, ‘Bullets‘ and ‘Controlling Crowds‘. The concert ended with delicious versions of ‘Kings of Speed‘ and the superbonus ‘Waste‘.
In fact I am simply speechless, somewhere between the ‘high’ of an intense musical transe experience and the blues of it being over for a while. I think I’ll insert my nostalgia right into that tiny moment of silence where the music stops. In eager expectation for it to start again. I am so glad they had some time to waste on us!
We got this rare and very beautiful poster, signed by (the) 9 Archive members at Forest National!
Can anybody let us know which one is Holly’s autograph? 😉
Update: Holly kindly let me know by Twitter that her autograph is bottom left, Maria Q thanked me for the article, and Dave Pen shared it on his Twitter.
Tweet from Maria Q: “@MariaQs Brussels!!! What can I say…one of our best gigs…if not the best one so far! Thank you! :0)”