Returning to Manchester with an instant sellout, metalcore/emo/post-hardcore band Sleeping with Sirens made their triumphant return after so many years away. Their last appearance in Manchester with Rise Against proved to be disastrous with the crowd turning against the band and the band turning on the crowd but they were in their element tonight.
Charming Liars took to the stage first with a more low key brand of indie style rock which was probably an odd choice but they made it work. They had solid stage presence and their twangy rock made them stand out amongst the heavier acts on the bill.
Static Dress were next and they were more in line with what you’d expect to see in a Sleeping with Sirens show, rowdy screaming, heavy riffing and over the top infectious energy that gave the crowd something to latch onto as they patiently waited for Sleeping with Sirens.
Sleeping with Sirens came on to Break Me Down and the energy was at 100% from the very first second with frontman Kellin Quinn racing around the stage like a man possessed while making a cacophonous screech that an incredibly small amount of people could replicate.
The band continued with the roaring choruses of Kick Me, practically everyone was screaming along and at certain points they were even louder than Kellin who had the benefit of a microphone.
Sleeping with Sirens work best with giant arena style sing along moments and woah moments were plentiful like Never Enough and Crosses which made the Ritz dance floor move and rock.
A massive moment that will likely be a core memory for some of the younger members of the audience was Better off Dead, an incredibly emotional song that resonated with so many people in the audience dealing with mental health issues, suicidal ideation or similar obstacles. So many people have a certain song that helped them deal with things and it’s clear that Sleeping with Sirens have the intention of writing those songs as long as their fans will listen.
There was an acoustic section that featured segments from If Your Life was a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack, these moments were really reserved compared to the rest of the show and Kellin had a really emotive performance which also included beatboxing for some reason. Once the acoustic section of the show had ended and the distortion pedals were switched back on, the crowd continued to go wild with Bloody Knuckles, an all out rager that brought even the most timid of concert goers out of their shells.
A Music video was being filmed for CTRL+ALT+DELETE in Manchester and London and if there’s one thing Northern people love doing, it’s up staging London and they accomplished that with relative ease. The pits were wild and matched the flailing energy of frontman Kellin Quinn. The anthemic choruses and thunderous drumming from Matty Best made If You’re James Dean the I’m Audrey Hepburn an absolute marvel of sheer emotional power and a sight to behold even if the title is still utterly ridiculous.
If You Can’t Hang was dedicated to Will and Lydia and the crowd was untamable, there were mosh pits spanning the entire room and even a crutch being waved around and this felt like a moment that encapsulated the song in an abstract manner: playing through pain to get to a moment that can mean so much. Sleeping With Sirens are a divisive band but they have a place for the younger crowd and they’ll likely learn new music and their tastes will change but you never forget your first.
Photos by Izzy Clayton
Words by Dale Unsworth