Archive in Bern - 10 November 2023

The UK's Archive are never less than amazing, but there was something in the air on this evening at the sold-out Bierhübeli in Bern that was extra special, elevating their music onto another plane altogether. Archive are a collective that have been going for nearly 30 years, simultaneously well-known (to discerning music fans) and unknown (to the mainstream).




Theirs is a mix of trip hop via rock and electro – a beguiling soundscape that incorporates both melody and noise, smoothness and angularity, and it all takes you on a musical journey that can give you a natural high if you're not careful.











The band had already given us a terrific set in Zurich a couple of weeks prior to the Bern concert. The setlist was nearly identical, save for swapping the epic «Lights» with the equally glorious «Controlling Crowds». Fantastic opener «Mr Daisy» from Archive's latest album «Call To Arms & Angels» immediately set the tone – no faffing around, straight into headbanging Archivian beats and melody, underpinned by Pollard Berrier and Dave Pen's complementary voices.











One of Archive's unique features has always been its array of guest singers, each bringing their own flavour to the music – from Maria Q's power to Rosko John's rhythmic genius to Holly Martin's fragility. A new addition is Lisa Mottram, whose airy, pitch-perfect vocals brought yet another feel to Archive's songs, as evidenced in the quiet «Surrounded By Ghosts» or the driving «Take My Head», sung in triple harmony by Mottram, Berrier and Pen.














Besides the peerless «Bullets», one of the highlights of the concert was «Daytime Coma», a 15-minute masterpiece that slowly built and built until electronic beats upped the tempo and the drums kicked in – an insane, spine-tingling experience in a live setting. «Fear There & Everywhere» brought an irresistible groove and «Enemy» ended in wonderfully noisy chaos.

The band is a superbly tight unit and a delight to watch – especially co-founder Darius Keeler, who was his usual energetic self, conducting the band, arms pumping, dancing, exuding joy.











The Pink-Floyd-esque «Again» closed the concert, sending your reviewer into a beautiful hypnotic trance and the audience into raptures. Archive yet again delivered blinding proof that they are one of the best live bands out there.

Support came from the excellent October Drift with a mix of indie rock and wave. Plus, they must be one of the most animated bands on stage ever.

- Anna Wirz  



Mr Daisy




Controlling Crowds


Daytime Coma

Surrounded By Ghosts

Worlds Collapsing

Take My Head

The Crown

Fear There & Everywhere


The Empty Bottle