Photo Credit: Agnes Emeney
One important thing is to be said about Monday night’s Sleeping With Sirens gig: although they may sometimes look scary with all their piercings, tattoos and dyed hair, punk rock fans make some of the loveliest crowds at concerts. This is particularly true, it seems, of Bristol.
The first of three support bands, Beach Weather, were met with a warm welcome. Although only formed in the summer of last year, the band seem to have quickly fallen into a particular stride which they carried off with a certain amount of style and confidence on the stage at Bristol’s O2 Academy. The band’s bassist, clearly having modelled himself closely on Kurt Cobain, ensured the band maintained the necessary amount of edge perhaps needed for this particular occasion; Beach Weather are more The 1975 than Nirvana. A pretty good set from an appropriate warm-up band.
Moving on, you will never see someone playing acoustic guitar with as much attitude as This Wild Life’s Kevin Jordan. It was a touching moment to see a sea of torches on the floor below my position on the stairs during a song dedicated to their friend who suffered with Leukaemia. This all-acoustic American punk duo performed a set of lovely songs, but considering we were there to see a post-hard core rock band, I couldn’t help finding it just a little dull.
Judging from the crowd reaction, you would have been forgiven for thinking that at this point in the night the main act had taken to the stage, when in fact it was just final support act, As It Is. This band from Brighton were really very good. American front man and lead singer Patty Walters had more energy than any performer I’ve ever seen live. With a plentitude of kick jumps and mic swings, As It Is had the crowd furiously jumping up and down - ‘warmed up’ is not a strong enough description of the electric excitement that was practically tangible as we anticipated Sleeping With Sirens’ time on the stage.
The energy soared as singer-extraordinaire Kellin Quinn took to the stage dressed in black skinny jeans and an Enter Shikari t-shirt. The band launched into their irresistibly punchy single, Don’t Say Anything. The crowd were so loud that at times Quinn had to fight to be heard over the hundreds of singing fans, not that this was something his unique set of pipes couldn’t handle. Throughout the set he showed off his vocal ability and incredible range, including two a cappella solos for which the crowd fell quiet in order to fully appreciate the singer’s talent. I really haven’t heard another voice like Quinn’s, I have no idea how his throat survives night after night.
Gabe Barham, the band’s drummer, was set up on a high platform where his clear-perspex drum kit practically glowed in the various show lights. The rest of the band had a playground of platforms and boxes to stand on and jump off of. This was a high-energy, fast paced set from start to finish. Perhaps this is why it felt like it was over far too soon.
The band romped through tracks from their latest album, Madness, as well as a few of their long-standing classics. However, that’s not to say that the whirlwind of the show detracted at all from the quality of performance. Sleeping With Sirens are very talented, and this showed in its best form live. There was a real happiness exuding from the audience at this concert; the conclusion was unanimous - this band are fucking great live. My only disappointment was that they didn’t do any songs from their 2012 Acoustic EP, but I guess I’m several years too late to wish that of their setlist.
Highlights were their uplifting single The Strays and their best-known song If You Can’t Hang, which closed the show. During this final number, guitarist Nick Martin left the stage and took to the stairs I was stood on, without dropping a chord.