Stick To Your Guns have just finished a tour in support of Architects massive headliner across Europe. Their popularity in the continent is constantly growing, with some places being extra receptive to what they have to offer. Maybe this is why they do pay us a visit on average twice a year and oddly enough, well…we can’t get enough of them. Maybe this is also why after 28 shows across 14 countries, with Architects, Stick To Your Guns have already announced their return, next spring, this time accompanying no others than Parkway Drive.
They don’t get to play headliners in our part of the world very often, but they’re always part of excellent line ups, wether as supports, or as festival performers (Never Say Die! Tour or Groezrock, for instance), so we won’t complain much. Furthermore, even in support slots, their sets are always very satisfying.
The first stop on this last european tour took place in Paris, France and this is where we met them again. It has to be recalled that the context was very special on that day. In fact, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know by now that Architects have suffered the passing of their guitarist Tom Searle, who also happened to be at the core of this band. The All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us tour was therefore their first one, as headliners, since it happened last summer. It was therefore in a strange mindset that we were headed to this show, already anticipating the – probably – emotional vibe it would hold. Something we don’t really think about when attending this kind of shows, usually.
However, aside from the quick and sober thank you comment in between two songs, Stick To Your Guns (who were the second band to play that night) didn’t overdo it. Which is good.
First things first : it should be pointed out that Stick To Your Guns introduce their set with Stranger Things’ theme track, which isn’t even surprising given that they had already showed their appreciation to the successful series previously. It added however a nice touch to the performance and at least helped them catch even more attention from the audience.
We quickly noticed that the circle pit (literally) of the “circus” venue was more than decently filled and that people were definitely ready for Stick To Your Guns. The set consisted mostly in their most popular numbers such as Nobody, Bringing You Down, Against Them All and We Still Believe (the last two took the sing-alongs in the crowd to the next level), What Choice Did You Give Us? or Amber. As for the recently released songs, it was interesting to discover which one of the 5, that make Stick To Your Guns’ newly released EP, ‘Better Ash Than Dust’, were going to make it to the setlist.
‘Better Ash Than Dust’ was released last September, under Pure Noise Records, which definitely marks a new era for the quintet. Consisting in 5 strong tracks, most of which sounded definitely shaped for the live performances, we wouldn’t have minded heading all of them live. In the end, Stick To Your Guns performed The NeverEndingStory and Universal Language, which probably hold the strongest messages on the EP (not that the others don’t.) These guys remain true to themselves and make a point in denouncing everything that’s wrong in this world and their urge to make a change and help our children live in a better place than we are.
Now even during the performance, frontman and singer Jesse Barnett takes the time to talk and say things that matter to him. Denouncing the “terrorist evil that is known as the United States of America” isn’t anything anyone would say lightly. But Jesse does, in the name of Stick To Your Guns.
Through songs like Universal Language, Stick To Your Guns dare addressing issues such as violence around the world but also animal rights. And it’s especially obvious live, when you see the passionate way they speak and sing in this regard. This is what makes them worth a trip, a concert ticket, or whatever it takes you to go see them. This is what makes this band an absolute delight to watch live.
Truth is, this formula works; because only by watching the crowd and having a few chats here and there after their performance, we could easily note that — aside from the obvious pleasure people take in participating to their live shows, whether it’s by crowdsurfing, or singing their hearts out — more and more people stand for the causes Stick To Your Guns defend so loudly. But also more and more people get to think about their position in life thanks to this community they federate around them. I remember someone telling me after that performance that this band have this one song (Such Pain) that awakened something in them, in the way they looked at themselves and in the confidence they should be having, but also in the acceptance they lacked towards the others and more importantly towards themselves.
In Barnett’s own words, even though this world can be full of shit, performing shows like this one, in Paris, on the first day of the All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us tour, “makes [them] say that this life is actually OK […] and reminds [them] that the world can be a beautiful place.”
Photos : Emma Forni
Stick To Your Guns – ‘Better Ash Than Dust’,
out now via Pure Noise Records
out now via Pure Noise Records