Ritual Nightclub, September 19, 2014 | Ottawa, ON

I knew this show was going to be pretty wild—packed with people, sweat, alcohol and devil horns. It was pretty much that…and jumping. Lots of jumping.

Of course the crowd needed a little energy coursing through them before they went all-out insane. Fortunately for local opening band Abraxas, the audience didn’t wait to get the flow going. The crowd wasn’t doing mosh pits or walls of death, but they were grooving. Exactly the way you should when you listen to Abraxas’ bouncing grooves and breakdowns.

Next up was My Ticket Home, which took me back to the ’90s nu metal phase. Purple lasers covered the stage, rendering the band unrecognizable from the audience’s point of view and almost ghost-like.

Being As An Ocean was the third band on the bill. Now, this is a band I hadn’t heard of prior to this show. Of all of the bands, they had a really mellow vibe to their music. It had heaviness to it, but long, dreary, atmospheric-like intros that lead into the hardcore side. At one point, front man Joel Quartuccio—wicked beard, Zeus would approve—ran through the audience to the middle of the venue (all the while still attached to a cable) screaming his voice out.

Stray From The Path was up next. I now realize it was incredibly stupid that I never took the time to sit down and listen to their tunes. They set the bar pretty high for crowd interaction and energy. People were loading up on Red Bull, but it seemed so pointless when you had these guys on stage.

Our headliner for the night, Brighton, England’s Architects came on the stage with a ferocity that no one in the crowd could expect. Architects played new stuff and old stuff, all of which were crowd-pleasers. New stuff (from what I could hear over the cheering) was “C.A.N.C.E.R,” “Dead Man Talking,” “Naysayer,” “Broken Cross,” “Gravedigger” and “The Devil Is Near.”

The band had been on a short September tour that started in Vancouver and ended in Montreal 11 days later. Fortunately, they stopped in Ottawa during their short run… And it was an excellent decision because it was sold out.

I was actually expecting “Naysayer” to be the closer, but it ended up being 2012’s “These Colours Don’t Run,” to which the audience went all out for the final breakdown. Vocalist Sam Carter commands an audience like no other, and I couldn’t even comprehend how the dude never ran out of breath.

What’s interesting about these small club shows is how the headliners have nowhere (or hole-in-the-wall greenrooms) to hide in—they’re just out there with their fans. I kept seeing Sam and drummer Dan Searle walking around the venue, and not one person stopped them to say “hello.” Nerves? Maybe. Respect for pre-show rituals? Hopefully. Whatever it is, it’s a perk of intimate venues I hope never dies.

Post show, Architects headed down to the nightclub area of Ritual for an after party, DJ’d by Architects themselves. They had a show the following night in Toronto, so they must have had a nice nap on the tour bus otherwise they’d be exhausted as all hell the next day.

Definitely a show to remember. I’m glad I was introduced to Being As An Ocean and Stray From The Path because those guys were pretty sweet. If you missed it… Well, that sucks.

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