Sleeping With Sirens
w/ State Champs, Tonight Alive, Waterparks
San Francisco, CA
November 28, 2016
I am going to begin this review with a declarative statement: Sleeping With Sirens put on one of the best sounding rock shows of the 2016 when they came to The Warfield. I sincerely mean that. Not only were they musically firing on all cylinders, every band member was smiling, clearly happy to be doing what they were doing, and interacting with the crowd as if we were all best friends (we love you, Scott). Their San Francisco stop on their proclaimed 'End The Madness! Tour' was filled with electrifying post-hardcore, memorable moments, and a packed lineup (openers State Champs, Tonight Alive and Waterparks were all onboard for the affair this fall).
With all of this being said, I'd like to make it clear how much I was bummed out to see the venue so empty. It was "empty", but only the first several rows of the massive Warfield balcony had remnants of a crowd, and while the floor was filled with people, I was still able to walk through it. The area of the venue on the GA floor above the location of the pit had literally no one there. I've never walked through that section of the venue with ease. Considering that Madness, the band's fourth studio record has done so well, and the buzz surrounding this tour has been nothing short of fantastic, why was the crowd more scarce this time around? Also consider that the band just played at the Vans Warped Tour in Mountain View, drawing the largest crowd of the entire day. I hope it was just because "it's a Monday", as the band were truly in full force.
It's just puzzling to me. Vocalist Kellin Quinn, guitarists Jack Fowler and Nick Martin, bassist Justin Hills, and Gabe Barham truly are a great band; they've matured and grown as a collective in monumental ways over the past several years. Their songwriting has vastly improved, while still being able to keep the touches of what drew people to them in the first place. A plethora of material from Madness was presented in this show, while old favorites from the coveted first two records, 2011's Let's Cheers To This and 2010's With Ears To See and Eyes To Hear. Select tracks were played from Feel, including "Congratulations", the band's 2013 collaboration with Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire. Having previously heard these tracks before, it almost felt like there was new life in them, and it played greatly to the band's advantage. Hell, they even played a non-album single that I'm almost convinced they haven't played since its release, "Dead Walker Texas Ranger" (yes, complete with images of Chuck Norris flooding the screens that adorned the stage).
Another thing that should be noted is was the production value for a tour of this size. From the moment the band stepped on stage to perform the first track ("Do It Now, Remember It Later"), six sparklers shot about ten feet into the air, lighting up the stage in a flurry of star-like lights. This was an effect that was employed at several times throughout the night, and I think it added something really special to the visual aspect of the performance.
To top it off, every person in the band spoke and interacted with the crowd in a very fun way. Long gone are the days when it once felt like vocalist Quinn was the only driving force in the band: Sleeping With Sirens are the band, and it is all five of them that makes the band unique.
I truly hope that more people come out to see these guys next time they're in town. But for the fans that were in attendance, there wasn't an unhappy face in the audience. To put it simply, Sleeping With Sirens can throw one hell of a rock show.
Sleeping With Sirens
This has been another Shameless Promotion.