The Living End/The Architects - Live in Grand Rapids (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Living End / The Architects

Live in Grand Rapids (2016)

live show


I hadn’t really planned on going to see The Living End at The Pyramid Scheme in downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday November 10th. When the opportunity arose at the last minute, I jumped at it. After talking to a few younger friends, I was surprised by how many of them loved and were influenced by this band. I guess The Living End reached a lot of people on those early 2000’s Warped Tours. I was really only familiar with “Prisoner of Society” and the first couple albums, but I’m usually up for having a couple beers and starting the weekend a day early.

Grand Rapids’ own Slumlord Radio opened the show. Even though the local quartet has been around for quite a while, this was my first time seeing them. Their sound reminded me a lot of the current state of rock radio. There are so few rock stations left that the ones that remain try to be everything to everyone. They play 70’s hard rock (think AC/DC), 80’s metal (think Metallica), 90’s alt-rock (think Nirvana) as well as more modern stuff. Add a little punk attitude and this was Slumlord Radio. Maybe their name even acknowledges this, though I’m not sure. Their 30 minute set was solid and I enjoyed their cover of Nirvana's “Breed”.

I had seen The Architects open for Agent Orange at the same club a couple of years earlier, so I kind of knew what to expect. For those of you who don’t know, The Architects are the group that formed in the wake of the beloved Kansas City ska-punk band The Gadjits. That band was popular during ska’s 3rd wave, and even briefly had a major label record deal. (You may also remember them from the late 90’s Warped Tour.) The core of The Gadjits was the Phillips brothers, and that’s also true of The Architects. Brandon (vocals/guitar), Zach (bass/vocals) and Adam (drums) have recently been rejoined by their original lead guitar player Mike Alexander. (Alexander played in the later day Gadjits and also leads his own rad band called Hipshot Killer.)

Soundwise, The Architects are quite a bit different than The Gadjits. I would describe them as soulful punk and roll. Frontman Brandon delivers his lyrics with the fervency of a revival tent preacher. He may have even stolen a stage move or two from the great Jerry Lee Lewis. He and drummer Adam were drenched in sweat before it was over. They tore through a 40 minute set that ended with a rousing cover of AC/DC’s “Sin City”. When I had seen The Architects previously, I had picked up a graphic novel/CD combo called Border Wars Series 1. I always thought It was a cool and interesting piece of merch, and I was happy to grab Border Wars Series 2 this time around. These guys put on a great live show and have a really deep discography that is definitely worth checking out. ***There is also a British metalcore band called Architects. Google The Architects KC.***

PBR tallboys were on sale for some reason, so my spirits were running high. I was already having a good time before The Living End even hit the stage. They opened with a song I didn’t know that reminded me a lot of “Stray Cat Strut”. (I guess all rockabilly songs sound sort of like “Stray Cat Strut”.) I recognized the second song, “Roll On”. It would be almost an hour later before I knew another one, “Prisoner of Society” at the end of the regular set. I was definitely in the minority. Most of the couple hundred people there seemed to know most every song. Their Australian accents made them seem charming, and they were naturals at working the crowd.

When the trio came out for their encore, they did a bluesy ten minute jam that featured a two handed tapping guitar solo as well as a slapped bass solo. This is where The Living End really shines, in their crack musicianship. I knew the other two songs in the encore, “End of the World” and “West End Riot”. Overall, I really enjoyed their set. The Living End played for nearly 85 minutes and capped off a really enjoyable night of music, drinking and hanging with friends old and new.