Sleeping With Sirens

support The Summer Set + Hands Like Houses + The Getaway Plan
author BL date 10/10/13 venue O2 Brixton Academy, London, UK

By the time I had arrived through the shady looking side entrance of Brixton (because I'm a VIP obviously) after leaving as soon as I could from my 'day' job, The Getaway Plan had already eluded me. It was even more disappointing personally that I also only got to see Hands Like Houses play a solitary final song "Lion Skin", which sounded like I would have enjoyed their set. Such is life though. As I made my way through the crowd to get a better view, it became obvious the Brixton capacity tonight consisted of maybe a few dozen guys at most, and maybe upwards of two, maybe three thousand excited teenage girls. As they sang loudly to Katy Perry and Fall Out Boy during the break, I wondered to myself, was I even a rock concert anymore? Was I in the right place?

The Summer Set

My familiarity with The Summer Set could be considered vague at best. Having listened to a full length a few years back (and subsequently forgetting about it), all I knew was that they were a well known pop punk/pop rock band but I was not quite prepared for just how warm their reception here tonight would be. The crowd were in full voice singing along, and screaming their little heads off, so one was easily made to envy those who looked like it was the time of their lives. Lead vocalist Brian Dales's vocals were thoroughly impressive and note for note clean, though the ridiculously pop and adolescent nature of the music demands that they had to have been - the same goes for the rest of the band who were tight as a closed clam. "Lightning In A Bottle" from their new album caught my ear as an unbelievably catchy first song, though as they played some of their older material (I only really recognised "Chelsea" and "Young") it became clear just how commercialised their overall sound had now gotten. With this realisation in mind, a bit of genuine charm fell away from The Summer Set's performance but not enough to hurt, especially considering one like myself being somewhat outside their target audience category.

6

Sleeping With Sirens

I suppose the talk of mainstream transformation similarly applies to Sleeping With Sirens, as their latest album achieved widespread success (the roof blew from the place when the band appeared on stage), but not critical acclaim. "Feel" was a record that felt like a lot of missed potential, and whilst there was an added intensity to those particular songs live - their arguably superior back-catalogue still outshone easily. Whatever that case is, front man Kellin Quinn still impressed endlessly with his smooth effeminate voice, reaching the occasional silky highs with relative ease, and powering some angsty screams despite struggling from time to time due to being 'sick'. That was, when I could even manage to hear him of course, as the singing from those watching often drowned his voice coming through the speakers. This became somewhat distracting to begin with, but during "Free Now" the effect was quite spectacular - the chorus became immensely more powerful.

Surprisingly, "If I'm James Dean, You're Audrey Hepburn" underwent some kind of half way transformation to the version from their acoustic EP, and I wasn't sure how to feel about it. On one hand, one could not help simply adore Kellin's parts and the cleverness in their new arrangement, but on the other hand it was the only song I had expected to see which represented their early heavy post-hardcore sound. Now forgotten of course which made me think back to the whole commercial aspect of the band now. Even when they did get a bit rowdy with "The Best There Ever Was" and "These Things I've Done" - it just didn't feel convincing and lacked genuine bite even when the breakdowns broke out. Thankfully when it came to being all soft and soothing, "Scene Five - With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear" sounded much more enjoyable whilst "Satellites" had a pretty cool arena vibe to it - a perfect match for the choruses on that song. At this point - far too late for their regular bed time - Sleeping With Sirens delighted the young fans and watching crowd with a three song encore that included the predictable choices missing from the main set itself including "Alone" and "If You Can't Hang" - the latter climatic and a thrilling end to the night. A grandstand finish for what Kellin called the best night in his entire life - not quite what I would call it, but not too shabby at all either.



Setlist:

  • 1. Here We Go
  • 2. Congratulations
  • 3. Low
  • 4. Free Now
  • 5. If I'm James Dean, You're Audrey Hepburn (Alternate version)
  • 6. The Best There Ever Was
  • 7. A Trophy Father's Trophy Son
  • 8. These Things I've Done
  • 9. Scene Five: With Ears to See, and Eyes to Hear
  • 10. Do It Now Remember It Later
  • 11. Satellites

Encore:

  • 12. Feel
  • 13. Alone
  • 14. If You Can't Hang

Photos courtesy of Hayley Connelly from Little Press.

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