San Diego’s own Pierce The Veil came to Birmingham along with their friends Sleeping With Sirens and nu metal wonder kids Issues. The O2 Academy had die-hard fans queuing from the morning with the line snaking around the block by the time doors opened. Pierce The Veil is probably my favourite band, I had seen them a while ago when they were supporting Bring Me The Horizon on their world tour and now it was their turn to headline the same venue. I had always loved their Rockstar energy drink fueled energy and down right adorable character, plus damn can they write hard-hitting post hardcore with catchy hooks and explosive performances to match.
Issues were first on the bill, the venue was already full with an excitable crowd raring to get started. The first time I had heard Issues was when they featured on a Jarrod Alonge sketch. The heaviest band on the roster I was anxious to see how they would fit into the show. After the first song all of my fears were put to bed. I was always against the idea of bands with 2 singers, however Tyler Carter’s clean and rap vocals mix so well with Michael Bohn’s heavier vocal repertoire. The vocalists pounced onto the stage from the off and orchestrated a tightly knit choreography of metal which oozed coolness and had the whole crowd moshing to the electronic styling of Issues.
Their set was a perfect combination of classic metal and electronic breakdowns that singe the corners of hip hop and dance music that creates an atmosphere for perfect moshing. They ploughed through some technical difficulties in the middle of their set, you could see the strain starting to show but they held it together and carried on eventually like troopers. Issues paced the set well and put their heart and soul into the performance, you could have been forgiven for thinking this was the headline act. The last song finished and they went out with a bang, the crowd loved them and they proceeded to hit the local clubs to have a great night out in Birmingham. Who could blame them, after that performance I would have been the first to buy them a drink!
“Shattered my expectations! Their energy and engagement with the fans made them a fantastic band to see live!”
Sleeping With Sirens were next on stage, hailing from Florida this post hardcore band has gone from strength to strength and built a huge fan base. Kellin Quinn’s unique vocal, and um, adorable tiny human style has made him a household name. The unforgettable high notes he produces are fun and complimented beautifully by the heavier interludes of drums and rhythm guitar. The set began in an atomic fashion, the band crashed on stage with Kick Me to the flashing light show. Kellin and his guitarists roamed the stage and owned the risers. I really have to draw attention to Justin Hills here. There is a stigma that bassists look bored on stage, now Mr.Hills looked like he had downed 6 Red Bulls before he started the set. He was running around the stage and machine gunning the crowd with his guitar, never had I seen a bassist have more fun on stage. And this goes for everyone, the whole band was dynamic and euphoric on stage. The crowd was loving it too, the set quieted down and they played some acoustic songs, Kellin then took some time to sign a Birthday card for a girl in the front. Isn’t that sweet?
They played a good mix of old and new material which was received very well by the fans, it was by no means a play through of their new album Madness. Overall it was a great set, classic Sleeping With Sirens. They finished the set by throwing every inch of the stage that wasn’t strapped down into the crowd, drum sticks, picks and towels for all!
“An energetic display of full on, fast paced and fantastic post-hardcore from the soon to be kings of the genre”
Following two great sets, Pierce The Veil had a lot to live up too! Touring with your friends, especially those who are roughly on par fan base wise must be a difficult task when headlining. However, from the offset, Pierce The Veil made their presence known and it was obvious why they were headliners! The energetic and fast ‘Hell Above’ sent the O2 into frenzy, unparalleled by any other band that played. A great start, which set the scene perfectly for the set to follow! This was preceded by a personal favourite ‘Caraphernelia’. I was pleasantly surprised by bassist Tony Perry who took the role that Jeremy McKinnon played in this song with his screaming vocals. It was a nice contrast to Vic Fuentes higher pitched tone and made the song extra special. I was apprehensive before attending, as I was worried about the amount of 12 year old ‘fan girls’ that would be present.
Having said that, it was nice to see that there was a large circle pit for all three bands and the etiquette of moshing remained intact, there were a few times that people fell down, but were soon helped back up. The acoustic break for ‘I’m Low On Gas…’ was a pleasant and well needed break from the intense songs before, however this only made the crowd more fired up for the last half of the set! The sing a long anthem of ‘Bulletproof Love’ was a nice way to round off the set before coming back on for an encore. I felt that Pierce The Veil’s interaction with the crowd was more genuine and sincere.
Pierce The Veil have really come into their own, every time I see them, they improve even more, they were extremely tight and didn’t need any over the top dramatics or show man ship, just the music! It was truly refreshing. To round off a superb night, ‘King For A Day’ with the addition of Kellin Quinn was a perfect ending to a great line up and a true testament to how far Pierce The Veil have come.
Special thanks to our guest writer and musical maestro Ryan Cornall for his input in this review!