LIVE: Good Charlotte / Sleeping With Sirens / Boston Manor @ Alexandra Palace, London

By Yasmin Brown

If there’s any modern day pop-punk band that wasn’t somewhat inspired by Good Charlotte, it would be a surprise. Their music has become a staple in any comprehensive pop-punk playlist, and is recognisable to most from the first few notes alone.

That’s why, as a newer band, the opportunity to support Good Charlotte at any one of their headline shows should be grasped with both hands and clung onto for dear life.

The show at London’s Alexandra Palace saw Boston Manor and Sleeping With Sirens as the lucky ones to take to the huge stage in this iconic venue, and despite the sparse crowd that faced them, they didn’t waste a single second of this opportunity.

For possibly the biggest show of their careers so far, Boston Manor showed no fear as they commanded the stage, proving themselves to be the talented showmen their diehard fans have always known them to be. Their loud, politically charged British rock sound filled the room, and as they made their way through each powerful song, crowd surfers emerged from the pit, legs flailing as they tried to find a hand to catch them. Boston Manor are only just starting out, but their profound and opinionated lyrics combined with their huge sound and strong stage presence indicates that this is just the beginning of a fruitful career.

The Blackpool five-piece were followed by Sleeping With Sirens, whose experience playing larger stages is evident from the moment they appeared in front of the crowd. Front man, Kellin Quinn, threw himself around the stage, managing to avoid colliding with any of his fellow bandmates despite being blinded by the mass of black hair that hung in front of his eyes. There were moments during which the band gave Quinn the opportunity to demonstrate his vocal abilities, and while for a moment it seemed somewhat self-indulgent, this was quickly pushed to the back of your mind as the crowd joined his bandmates in staring and cheering, awestruck, at Quinn as he pushed his vocal boundaries to the limit, highlighting just why this band so easily fill venues all over the world.

Prior to launching into the catchy ‘Go Go Go’, Quinn took the time to dedicate the song to Good Charlotte, acknowledging that they’re one of his all-time favourite bands as he beamed with gratitude and excitement at the prospect of being able to join them on this tour. In fact, the entire set felt fuelled by this sentiment, as the anecdotal ‘Better Off Dead’ was dedicated to any attendee who may have suffered from depression and anxiety. Despite their supporting role, there were moments where Sleeping With Sirens felt more like the main event, creating an atmosphere that felt safe and encouraged togetherness and community.

If Sleeping With Sirens’ set felt like a performance worth shouting home about, it was nothing compared to what was to come half an hour later when Good Charlotte took to the stage for their largest London show of their 22 year career.

The band wasted no time pulling out all the stops, as flames warmed the already sweaty crowd just three songs into the night during ‘The Anthem’. Good Charlotte may have been around for almost as long as many of us have been alive, but their live shows continue to be as explosive and energetic as ever.

Despite declaring himself speechless, Joel Madden was anything but as he spluttered rambling words of thanks and expressed his awe at the scene in front of him and his bandmates. Anyone could see that this evening was about to become one for the Good Charlotte history book as we were taken on a journey through the band’s discography and treated to some of their greatest hits as well as newer tracks from the most recent ‘Generation Rx’.

The throwbacks offered a sense of going home, as you are prompted to think back to where you were when certain songs were released, while pre-performance anecdotes such as those about positive London vibes prior to ‘Prayers’ provoked wide smiles as the crowd threw their arms forcefully into the air, screaming along to every word. Perhaps the most poignant moment of the night, though, came prior to ‘Hold On’. Joel, once again, spoke about how Good Charlotte changed his life, stating that he doesn’t “take it lightly that you guys are going through something. Every single one of you deserves to live your best life and love yourself” and encouraged us to pick up others when they’re down.

This moment was closely followed in greatness by the band’s performance of ‘Leech’, where they were accompanied by Sam Carter of Architects – a band who had recently found themselves headlining Wembley Arena – who is met with deafening roars. It was a tough act to follow, but with ‘Good Morning Revival’ favourites, ‘The River’ and ‘Dance Floor Anthem’, they easily maintained the hectic pace and enthusiasm that came with Carter’s presence.

The show ended as we all knew it would with ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’, during which we were treated to more stage dramatics. It had been a long night of entertainment, but not for a moment did we wish it would end. Each band on the lineup offered their own unique experience, and when combined with the architectural beauty of the iconic Alexandra Palace, it was undeniably the perfect night of rock ‘n’ roll.