Live Review: Sleeping With Sirens / Static Dress / Charming Liars – O2 Ritz, Manchester 19.03.2023

Sian Connolly

By Sian Connolly

Tonight is the night we welcome back to the UK, the emo-rock legends all the way from America, Sleeping With Sirens. I don’t know about you guys but I could not get a winks sleep last night with excitement. I’ve been waiting for this day since the announcement last November and finally, the night has arrived. 

I’m back at the sold-out o2 Ritz in Manchester this Sunday evening, revved and ready to go for the night ahead. As I turn the corner from leaving the station, the endless queue of people appear out of nowhere! Hundreds and hundreds of fans lined the streets for what seemed like miles. I’m just thankful I don’t have to join the back of it! The second the doors opened, we couldn’t get in fast enough. Everyone charged to the barrier, desperate to get the best spot in the house.

30 minutes flew by and before we knew it, the first band took to the stage. The English/American hybrid, Charming Liars, warmed us up with a couple of their hits, “When Did We?” and “The Haunting”. Desperately trying to get everyone hyped up, the crowd tonight was definitely a tough one for these guys to crack. Even though lead singer, Seth Salois, brought all the energy possible, the audience just wasn’t as lively as normal. With only 7 songs on the setlist, finishing off with “Pieces” lifted the spirits as the crowd let out a big cheer. The set was definitely enjoyable, I think we can put it down to the fact we were all just a little too excited to see the headliners (we love you Charming Liars, don’t worry!) 

Soon enough, the moment I had personally been eagerly waiting for, finally arrived. I first heard of this band a year ago after seeing them at the Heavy Music Awards in London and ever since that show, I’ve gone on to see them live 5 times. These guys are absolutely worth keeping an eye on. Please welcome to the stage Leeds’ own, Static Dress. The whole room erupts with energy as frontman, Olli Appleyard runs onto the stage, screaming to the crowd, hyping everybody up.

Diving straight into “disposable care”, Olli’s energy is immaculate as he darts back and forth across the stage, still screaming along with ease. The floor is shaking as everyone jumps up and down, waving their arms in the air. It’s safe to say, I’m certain there’s not one person in this crown tonight who didn’t know the lyrics to any of the songs on the setlist. From the likes of “such.a.shame” to fan favourite, “sweet.”, Static Dress’ set was insane.

Appleyard’s presence is extremely upbeat and theatrical whilst at the other side of the stage we have masked guitarist, Contrast, who gives off a very cool, chilled and poised vibe. All that seems to be paired just perfectly to create an amazing performance. Would 10/10 recommend seeing these guys live.

Whilst waiting for the headliners, the sound crew blessed us with endless ABBA anthems… and the crowd loved it. Singing and cheering along, it may as well have been an ABBA concert instead! But I guess Sleeping With Sirens will just have to do.

The lights dim as drummer, Matty Best walks out onto the stage and up to his kit, strobe lights in sync with his beating of the drums. As you can imagine, the crowd is already at full screaming capacity and the top man himself hasn’t even appeared on the stage yet! The rest of the band comes out from behind the shadows as the man we’ve all been waiting for storms out onto the stage; Kellin Quinn is here and everyone’s about to know it.

Opening up with “Break Me Down”, the energy in this room is incomparable to any other. SWS have some of the most dedicated fans I have ever met and after waiting so long for this very moment, every single one of them is screaming their heart out. Maybe a little too much as Kellin’s vocals just became a backing track for everyone else! Blessed with a setlist of our dreams, Quinn gave us the ultimate live experience playing the likes of, “Kick Me”, “Better Off Dead” and “Do It Now Remember It Later”.

Each member of the band radiates pure confidence making them look like proper rock stars. I even managed to experience my all-time favourite “Bloody Knuckles” live for the first time and my night couldn’t have been more complete. Until the encore. Shutting it down with a Sleeping With Sirens classic, “If You Can’t Hang” absolutely tore the roof down and no one’s complaining. 

SWS, if you see this, we expect another tour asap; we’re all waiting…

Previous Live Review: Tom Grennan - AO Arena, Manchester 18/03/23
Next Live Review + Gallery: WOMADelaide Day 3 (Sunday, 12th March, 2023)

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