It’s always tough playing a show where four bands are on the bill and doors open at just 6pm, so for Beach Weather we – like a lot of the crowd – didn’t make it in time to catch their set.
Having seen This Wild Life at last year’s Slamdunk Festival we had an idea of what to expect from the heartfelt acoustic duo, and hopes were set high. The duo didn’t spend ages chatting with the crowd but instead let their music do the talking. For a Saturday night in Birmingham we were a bit surprised – but thankful – that the crowd quietened down to pay attention. The opening track, ‘History’, packed a powerful punch despite being subtle and soft to the ears, and with just two acoustic guitars the sound traveled around the whole of the Academy. Understandably the only real singalong of the set was their moving cover of ‘Sleepwalking’ by Bring Me The Horizon, but next time they play we’re sure more people will know the band’s own material.
In stark contrast, As It Is as the life and soul of the night, and they really helped to get the energy levels going. Movement begins and songs start to resound through the venue as the crowd gluttonously eat up every single track which Patty Waters and co send offer them. For us their music can sometimes be a little samey; once you’ve heard 20 pop punk bands you’ve kind of heard them all, but their live talent is sets the bar high.
A lot of the time Sleeping with Sirens don’t quite get taken seriously for the musicians that they are are due to their young fan base but the five piece know how to put on a show, and waste no time in setting into ‘Don’t Say Anything’ after hitting the stage. ‘Kick Me’ really showcases the outfit at their best, with bouncy riffs, heartfelt lyrics and the type of choruses that you’ll find yourself humming for days.
Frequently people don’t manage to see past Kellin Quinn, who doubtlessly is the reason behind a lot of the band’s initial success, but it’s the rest of the band who are the glue as they perfectly glide from song to song. Screams circulate throughout the venue in the way that few ‘rock’ bands command, more on par with the likes of One Direction or Bieber.
On occasion Kellin’s voice grates on us a little (come on, his vocals can go insanely high) but their performance is captivating and mesmerises not just the teens who have been queuing since the morning but the parents who are there to accompany their children. One thing though is that his voice is instantly recognisable; you’d always know it was Kellin standing before you singing his heart out.
Every song that is played from mid-set highpoint ‘Congratulations’ to set closer ‘If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn’ from their first album sounds massive. In between tracks the banter is exactly what you’d expect from this type of band, as Kellin explains “this song is for anyone that’s different and that it’s okay to be different” before they burst into ‘The Strays’ and “this song goes out to anyone who has thought they would be better off dead than alive” before ‘Better Off Dead’. Sometimes this banter seems a little impersonal and scripted, with Quinn barely mentioning the city he’s in at all.
With an acoustic album imminent, a stripped back version of ‘Gold’ is a wise move, and we’re impressed with the band’s confidence to pull it off live. Kellin’s vocal acrobatics can be experienced full on. It doesn’t take long before the band kick things back up to 10 on the intensity scale.
Rounding things off with ‘If You Can’t Hang’, it’s amazing how quickly the bands 15 track set goes by. As the crowd walk out with Cheshire cat style grins plastered across their faces, we wonder how long it will be before the band are back again.