Sleeping With Sirens
Freitag 23:00–00:00 @ Engelbert Strauss AlternArena
Quinn’s angelic voice and the easygoing affability of all five guys endears them to a diverse audience, people more friends than fans in a sense, people who connect with the singer’s personal tales of childhood woe (“Free Now,” “Trophy Father Trophy Son”), tender love letters (“If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn”), and direct encouragements to seize the day (“Scene Two – Roger Rabbit”) and triumph over heartache (“Feel”) and pushback against the hater brigades (“Congratulations”).
Sleeping With Sirens have taken to referring to themselves and their fellow outsiders as Strays, a concept immortalized in the song of the same name on the band’s Epitaph debut. Produced by hit-maker John Feldman (5 Seconds Of Summer, Panic! At The Disco), Madness is an electric celebration of all that is SWS and everything they represent. It’s a reminder and an exclamation point as to exactly why so many consider this band to be the voice of their generation, a hilarious happenstance considering SWS humility and humble beginnings, not unlike Hayley Williams or Patrick Stump, in truth.
Wins and nominations for Artist Of The Year (APMAS 2014, Alternative Press 2013), Best International Newcomer (Kerrang!), Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year (APMAS) are all emblematic of the groundswell SWS built at what feels like a lightning pace. Facebook likes tripled to over 3 million since 2013; each of Quinn’s social media profiles has 1 million followers; Feel debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200; Alternative Press, Rock Sound, Kerrang!, Outburn and Blunt regularly feature them on the cover; they’ve been a main-stage act for Vans Warped Tour and UK’s prestigious Reading & Leeds. Quinn’s “King For A Day” collaboration with Pierce The Veil was certified gold. A few years ago, SWS was an opening band. In 2013, they sold out a 5,000 capacity club in London.The band has sold over 720,000 albums across their catalog, but their earliest beginnings are vividly relatable to anyone who has been in a band. Quinn joined an early incarnation of the group in Florida even as its lineup was disintegrating. Barham and Hills were working restaurant jobs in their native Midwest when Quinn, who they had played with in bands before, asked them to join Sleeping With Sirens. They sold everything, strapped Hills’ bass cabon the top of a car and headed South with nowhere to live and no real plan. The three of them made SWS debut album together. With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear featured the old line-up’s guitarists, but Jack Fowler and Jesse Lawson were onboard in time for Let’s Cheers to This, which shook the scene in 2011.
The first two albums and relentless touring resulted in a solid profile as a top-tier band in the worlds of screamo and metalcore, but SWS had bigger aspirations. The subtle, down-to-earth acoustic performances they’d quietly assemble outside of clubs after their set started to draw more people outside than whoever was headlining inside. The intimate, communal vibe of these interactions with fans and the exploration of bigger melodic hooks led to the acoustic EP, If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack. The group’s newfound comfort in their embrace of giant melodies was apparent with the massive crowd pleaser, Feel, which demonstrated a wide range, from debut single “Low” to their collaboration with rapper Machine Gun Kelly, “Alone.”
The Feel This Tour (SWS, Memphis May Fire, Breathe Carolina, Issues, Our Last Night) introduced Nick Martin to the fans. Martin’s tenure in Underminded and post-hardcore super-group D.R.U.G.S. lends sharp experience to the raw energy already present in SWS, resulting in the most potent incarnation of the band yet. No matter how large Sleeping With Sirens has become, Quinn and his cohorts haven’t backed down from their offering of only the most courageous examinations of what they are as people, expressed nightly on stages around the world through marvelously intimate songs.