The UK leg of Sleeping With Sirens’ ‘Ctrl+alt+del’ tour kicked off this week, starting in Bristol, and I was lucky enough to get to see them in Leeds last night (March 16).
Getting to Stylus, a live music venue based within Leeds University’s student union building, there was a sight that was completely new, and a little amusing, to me. I’m used to seeing a busy student union, and a line of alt kids expanding towards the horizon. What I’ve never seen is a line of alt kids expanding through a busy student union, with junctions made between alt kid and student so traffic could continue to flow.
Doors were at seven and opened right on time! Though I was directed straight to put my coat and bag in the cloakroom, which added another twenty minutes onto my wait time to go in. Though once I was sorted, I was able to shuffle my way to the front to take photos.
When it came to photography at this show, it was a much better experience than my last one. The security were really respectful and friendly, engaging with us and the audience in a positive way. However, there seemed to be a little confusion around the ‘first three songs and off’ rule with the second band, where the photographers seemed to stay for four songs. Maybe I’d miscounted…
First band up was Charming Liars. Insanely energetic, they’re a band formed in London’s West End, but now based in the states. This band was a highlight of the night. They had incredible stage presence, audience interaction, showmanship. They were so good at hyping the audience, and most importantly had an amazing setlist. I’ve come away a fan of this band. I recommend listening to songs such as When Did We and Like a Drug.
Leeds’s own Static Dress were on next. Guitarist Contrast grabbed my attention immediately, as he came out in a mask looking like the devil himself. Although musically they weren’t for me, they are a creative band with new, artistic ideas and I can both appreciate and praise that. They kept up the energy from the first band, especially as frontman Olli Appleyard never stopped moving. Not for a single second. Though he had some personality. As the crowd chanted ‘Yorkshire’ he let out a little cheeky chuckle while saying “we really are the word kind of people”.
While we talk about frontmen that don’t stop, Sleeping With Sirens’ frontman Kellin Quinn came on stage and owned it. Interacting with each other and the fans, every single one of them gave put all their energy into performing. It looked effortless. They performed hits such as Better Off Dead and If You Can’t Hang, with an acoustic section that included their famous cover of Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris. A good mix of albums within the set, though I would have expected more songs from their newest album Complete Collapse. After the first three songs, I made my way around to the back of the room, and I could feel the pit’s energy during If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn all the way from behind, and could only imagine how I’d been swept up if I hadn’t moved.
The let-down of the night, unfortunately, was the crowd. Although they brought a good energy, with positive interactions towards the bands. There was crowd-surfing and mosh pits – as to be expected at such a show!
However, I don’t think I’ve been to a show and seen as much disrespect towards other people. Young girls leaving in tears, some had been hurt (while not in the pit), rudeness towards staff. Let’s not forget inappropriately touching others while they were actively uncomfortable.
An audience can make and break someone’s concert experience. I understand this is out of the band’s control, but we need to revise concert etiquette and basic respect towards each other. Please remember everyone is there for a good time, and staff are there to do a job – which for the most part, is making sure you’re safe while enjoying yourself.
Luckily, audience behaviour can vary depending on show. If you’re a fan of Sleeping With Sirens, make sure you get to see them live at some point. You may just have one of the best nights.