LIVE: Sleeping With Sirens / Palisades / SHVPES @ Electric Ballroom, London

By Adam Rosario

When Sleeping With Sirens conclude their set with an almighty ‘If You Can’t Hang’, the band bow and take photos as the confetti falls around them. It’s been another successful UK tour, each year building up their fanbase more, with more dates and more sell outs to boot. London’s Electric Ballroom was the latest venue to showcase Sirens’ back catalogue. 

Opening the night are Birmingham alternative metallers Shvpes, who crank the energy up in the room with ease. Whilst being relatively unknown in the room, the music does the introductions for them, though having the son of the singer of Iron Maiden fronting your band isn’t the worst card to have in your back pocket. Griffin Dickinson got the front man genes from his father, prowling the stage, inciting pits and jumps with the crowd, whilst switching between his guttural screams and a faux rap. ‘Renegades’ is a song that Papa Roach would’ve been proud to write, whilst ‘Calloused Hands’ rips through the venue – it’s ‘Afterlife’ that’s the absolute highlight of the night, though, with Dickinson showing off all of his talents in one song a sight to behold. Shvpes are a band who are going places, and they’ll be getting there quickly. 

When Palisades take to the stage, the energy in the room seems to dip. The crowd take a while to get into the set, with the band trying their hardest. There’s a lot of reliance on their backing track, which is distracting throughout. ‘Fade’ is one of the only standout moments throughout the set, showing off vocalist Louis Miceli’s vocal talent, before the band come in and the backing track kicks in again. When Palisades decide to play a cover of ‘One Step Closer’ by Linkin Park, the crowd give their biggest reaction so far, but the main issue stems again from the backing track being the Linkin Park version of the song. They finish on ‘Erase The Pain’ but it does nothing to erase the pain of the ten song set.

Sleeping With Sirens, however, arrive with a mission statement of being the most fun that they can be. With a new album taking more influence from their earlier post-hardcore sound, they open on a massive ‘Leave It All Behind’, with Kellin Quinn’s signature vocals sending the crowd into delirium. The stage setup is minimal, with some light up pillars surrounding the band and a few spotlights around them. When the CO2 cannons are let off, it changes the atmosphere and really shows the crowd that they are getting their money’s worth. ‘Never Enough’ follows the opener and the energy spikes once again, with pits opening all over the venue, ‘Tally It Up: Settle The Score’ is one of the oldest songs the band play in their set, but the crowd react like it’s a new song; Quinn’s vocals have improved over the years since this song was recorded, giving it a new dimension in 2019. 

It’s been a fast start and the set continues with ‘Better Off Dead’, which the band play hard and fast, before the first of the band’s two massive classics. ‘Do It Now, Remember It Later’ is one of the songs that made Sirens a big deal on both sides of the Atlantic at the early stages of their career. Quinn announces that they are recording parts of the show, and this song will definitely be a highlight whenever the video is released, with pandemonium in the Ballroom throughout the song. At one stage, Quinn tells the crowd that he was tweeted by a young girl who’d asked her mother if they could attend the show, only to be told “why would I want to spend my birthday listening to that guy who sounds like a girl?” It’s met by boos, before Quinn concludes with confirmation that he put the girl and her sister on guest list, as an act of defiance. ‘A Trophy Father’s Trophy Son’ follows, with extra gusto from the band after the story.

Quinn has often been ridiculed for his vocals, but when he sings ‘With Ears to See, and Eyes to Hear’ and ‘Roger Rabbit’ back to back acoustically, he really shines. With the venue lit up by phone lights and lighters, the double acoustic song portion of the set is another highlight of the set and feels like a moment for the band in their career. Concluding the main set with ‘Break Me Down’ before ‘Kick Me’ gives the crowd the chance to go crazy, especially when the breakdown kicks in.

A two song encore of ‘If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn’ and the scene classic ‘If You Can’t Hang’ bring a triumphant UK tour to a close. Sleeping With Sirens have always had a stigma around them, centring around Quinn’s vocal style, but they’re able to write songs that connect with people. This is a band who continue to defy their critics and keep on giving entertaining shows wherever they go. Their first ever UK headline show was at Brixton Academy, and there shouldn’t be any betting against them being able to get back to that level in the very near future.