I’d love to be starting these reviews with how nice the weather was outside, but still the frigid Winnipeg weather on February 1st didn’t keep the fans home from stepping out and getting a little cold to fill up the Burton Cummings Theatre to see Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, and The Gospel Youth perform live. I’m not sure of what circumstance, but the band Southpaw was absent from the Canadian dates of the tour. Sleeping With Sirens are currently on tour with Set It Off and The Gospel Youth, promoting their latest album, “Gossip”.
The United Kingdom based Rock band, The Gospel Youth opened up the night to a warm welcome by the Winnipeg crowd. It was the first time the band has performed in Winnipeg and their set seemed well received by everyone packed inside the venue. When asked by vocalist, Samuel Little, “has anyone heard of us before”, a few screams developed throughout the theatre. The Gospel Youth performed such songs as, “Lighting Fires”, “Wildfire”, “Moods Like English Weather”, among others. The Gospel Youth are surely a band to watch out for in the future. They’re just at a start of what’s looking like a very promising career. I hope to see the band back to Winnipeg on a future tour soon.
Next to perform was Set It Off, who hail from Tampa, Florida. Set It Off are no stranger to Winnipeg and the rest of Canada. The band has been touring Canada since before they signed their first record deal and have been to Winnipeg on many occasions in the past. Some of these shows played to nearly no one in attendance. One of the first instances of these tours I was fortunate to attend was in, I believe it was 2011, if not 2012. Set It Off went off on a Canadian tour, the Winnipeg stop of the tour was at the now closed, Ellice Theatre & Cafe. The bands vocalist, Cody Carson and I also recall drummer, Maxx Danziger were not able to get into the country for the tour and the local musician Mike Burnard had to fill in on vocals for the band, who performed a quick three song acoustic set for what I remember was about 15 to 25 people in the room.
It was obviously clear that many of the Winnipeg audience were more than aware of who Set It Off were. A plethora of people in the crowd were singing along to songs such as, “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”, “Ancient History”, “Bleak December”, “Why Worry”, and even “NME”, which included an interesting choice of a cover of the Backstreet Boys’ 1997 hit single, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” after the bridge of the song. The Backstreet Boys cover was accompanied by a choreographed dance by the members of the band. Every time I’ve seen Set It Off live, the band always goes above and beyond to make sure to meet all their fans after their set and after the show, even if it means standing in the cold if they have to. Which luckily, they didn’t have to during the night.
The final act to the stage was the Orlando, Florida based band, Sleeping With Sirens. The band has dabbled in various genres over their five albums, but are best known for vocalist, Kellin Quinn’s leggero tenor vocal range. It’s rather shocking that such a band as successful as Sleeping With Sirens, who have been on dozens and dozens of tours has now only ever been to Winnipeg for the second time. The last time Sleeping With Sirens have been to the city was all the way back in October of 2010. They performed at the West End Cultural Centre on an opening spot for Enter Shikari on their Destabilize North American tour. At the time, Sleeping With Sirens would’ve been touring their debut album, “With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear”.
The Winnipeg Sleeping With Sirens fans were ecstatic when the band arrived to the stage. Most of the fans in attendance were probably seeing, which I’d assume for some is their favorite band for the first time or even again for some fans. Starting the set off strong with the songs, “Feel”, “Low” and “Go Go Go”, it set the shape of what this set was going to be. A mixture of fun, nostalgic, and powerful songs. Right before Sleeping With Sirens performed their song, “One Man Army”, vocalist Kellin Quinn said that it was one of the best songs he’s ever written as a musician. The band followed with three songs acoustically, “With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear”, the title track of their recently released album, “Gossip”, and their epic rock ballad, “The Strays”. These three songs were a nice nod to their acoustic EP release from 2012, “If You Were a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack”. It was nice to have vocalist, Kellin Quinn’s voice shine on top of guitarist, Nick Martin’s acoustic playings. The band closed the set off strong with their song, “Legends”. Lastly after a long chant for “one more song”, Sleeping With Sirens returned to the stage to perform a two song encore consisting of the songs, “If You Can’t Hang” and “Kick Me”. The only disappointing thing I took from the bands entire set was that the bands songs, “2 Chord” and “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” were on the setlist, but not performed during the performance.
Each and every performance from The Gospel Youth, Set It Off, and Sleeping With Sirens were all great in their own right. I personally did not want the show to come to an end and I’m sure many others didn’t themselves. This tour has a well rounded line up that should not be missed. If you have the chance, you’ll definitely be missing out if you don’t attend an upcoming date of this tour. Quite frankly, I hope to see Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, and The Gospel Youth back to Winnipeg and the Canadian prairies again very soon.