Gossip World Tour: Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, & The Gospel Youth

By Samuel Stevens

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 Gospel Youth - Samuel Little & James Dixon
The Gospel Youth. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

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.

Set It Off - Maxx Danziger
Set It Off. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

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.

Sleeping With Sirens - Kellin Quinn
Sleeping With Sirens. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

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.

The Iron Maidens

By Samuel Stevens

The frigid weather wasn’t keeping away Winnipeg Metal fans from bracing the cold and filling up the Burton Cummings Theatre to see the local Judas Priest tribute band, Metal Gods and the band who are considered the “world’s only female tribute to Iron Maiden“, The Iron Maidens. This past weekend, The Iron Maidens took on a two night mini tour of the Prairies of Canada with shows in both Winnipeg, Manitoba and Regina, Saskatchewan.

Metal Gods (Judas Priest Tribute Band)

The local Winnipeg band, Metal Gods were the first band to be welcomed to the stage and performed an assortment of Judas Priest covers. All five members of Metal Gods fully commit when performing, even right down to dressing up in the classic look of the band. Which includes full leather outfits with a plethora of metal studs. The band looked like they wanted to resemble what appeared to be approximately the 1979–1989 line up of Judas Priest.

I noticed many members of the audience were quite into the bands set, as early as the first song. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, Judas Priest are as well known as Iron Maiden in the Metal music scene. Especially when Metal Gods closed their set with the notable fan favorite and I’d like to say, classic Judas Priest singles, “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight”, and ending with, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”. The audience even welcomed the band with a standing ovation as their set came to a finish.

The Iron Maidens - Nikki Stringfield

Next to hit the stage was The Iron Maidens, an all female Iron Maiden tribute band from Los Angeles, California, who are currently gathering quite the international recognition. Starting the set off with a bang, The Iron Maidens performed “Aces High” and “2 Minutes to Midnight”. The two singles off the album, “Powerslave”. Other fan favorites/singles performed by the band throughout the night included songs such as, “The Trooper”, “Fear of the Dark”, “Number of the Beast”“Hallowed By Thy Name”, among many others. The Iron Maidens did not forget to dig deeper into the Iron Maiden catalog to perform many deep cuts as well. Some of which are considered to be some favorites among the Iron Maiden fan base. These songs performed included “22 Acacia Avenue” and “Phantom of the Opera” to name a few.

I loved that the band even replicated the standard Iron Maiden stage show and brought out a “Somewhere in Time” album era Eddie the Head, the iconic Iron Maiden mascot, during the song “Wasted Years”. The song is featured on the forementioned album. The band’s performance also featured a costume change during “The Trooper” by vocalist, Kristen Rosenberg, also known as, Bruce Chickinson. Sporting a red and white army jacket, resembling Eddie the Head on the single artwork for “The Trooper”. As well as waving around a Union Jack and later on in the song, a Canadian flag. A beast wandered on stage during, “Number of the Beast” at the most appropriate of times. Lastly, a classic Eddie made his way on stage during the bands encore performance of “Hallowed By Thy Name”.

Both Metal Gods and The Iron Maidens had fun and energetic sets. The crowd was visibly rocked by their performances and so was I. It’s rather disappointing that both of their performances came to an end so quick, as a dueling guitar solo can come to a slowing finish. I don’t know if it was The Iron Maidens first time playing anywhere in Canada, but it was absolutely the bands first ever show in Winnipeg, Manitoba in the 17 years the band currently has run. Drawing a sell out crowd, I’m sure The Iron Maidens will be back very soon to play in front of the Winnipeg fans once again.

The Madness Tour: All That Remains, Throw The Fight, & Tyrants Demise

By Samuel Stevens

On the night of December 19th, you could feel Winnipeg’s annual holiday cold snap starting outdoors and I had the pleasure of staying in warm to take in the Madness Tour at The Garrick. The night’s bill included touring acts, All That Remains, Throw The Fight, and locals, Tyrants Demise. All That Remains is currently wrapping up their current tour with Throw The Fight, through Canada and a few United States cities for their recent album release, “Madness.”

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Tyrants Demise vocalist, Keith “Kut” Proulx. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

First to hit the stage was local Death Metal band, Tyrants Demise. The band has been on the Canadian Death Metal scene now for I believe approximately ten years. Tyrants Demise has opened up for a plethora of bands such as DevilDriver, The Faceless, Three Inches of Blood, and Dying Fetus to name a few. They can now add All That Remains and Throw The Fight to the list.

I can’t speak for everyone in attendance, but Tyrants Demise’s set seemed well received by the Winnipeg audience. Plenty of people in the crowd were headbanging, moshing, and I even witnessed some singing along with the band. The band has six releases under their belt, three demos and three EPs. Hopefully soon Tyrants Demise will be releasing their debut album.

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Throw The Fight bassist and vocalist, Kade Kastelitz. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography. 

Taking the stage after Tyrants Demise was the Alternative Metal band, Throw The Fight. Throw The Fight was conceived 14 years ago and hail out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The band are currently touring their third album, “Transmissions”. Which was released back in 2016. This was Throw The Fight’s second time in Winnipeg, the first being four years ago on the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour with Bullet For My Valentine, Black Veil Brides, and Stars in Stereo in the fall of 2013.

The most notable song that Throw The Fight performed during the night was their song, “Gallows”. “Gallows” is one of the heavier songs Throw The Fight performed during their set that the audience was able to mosh to. Another notable track performed was their cover of “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”, the massive 1986 hit single by British Rock band, Cutting Crew. Vocalist James Clark introduced their cover of “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” by telling everyone in attendance that there was no way they didn’t at least know the chorus of this massively popular song. After performing this cover it was more than safe to say the band was well received by the room.

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All That Remains vocalist, Phil Labonte. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

To close the night off was who everyone came to see, All That Remains. All That Remains are a Metal band who have dabbled with various subgenres over the years such as Metalcore, Heavy Metal, and in the early years, Melodic Death Metal. The band reside from Springfield, Massachusetts and are currently on tour for the eighth studio album, “Madness”. Marking 20 years as a band in 2018, All That Remains aren’t strangers to Winnipeg. Over the years they’ve toured through Winnipeg, if I counted correctly, five times. Every time the band has been to Winnipeg, they’ve always played The Garrick. Either as an opener for such acts as Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, and In Flames or headlining, now two tours at The Garrick one of which featured Italian Alternative Metal band, Lacuna Coil.

The crowd was visibly energetic during All That Remains performance by singing along, moshing, and headbanging to each and every song performed. What I loved most out of the set was how the band tried to perform at least one song from each previous album release. The audience also seemed to enjoy this as they loved when vocalist, Phil Labonte screamed, “Do you guys want something old? Something off “The Fall of Ideals”? then proceeded to perform, “The Air That I Breathe”, which brought the whole room into loud cheer. All That Remains played a beautiful version of Garth Brooks’, “The Thunder Rolls” mid-set. It was not a shocker that the audience were waiting for the band to perform fan favorites “This Calling” and the set closing, “Two Weeks” to set the mosh pit into an even bigger craze.

Each performance by Tyrants Demise, Throw The Fight, and All That Remains flew by as quick as a drum stick hits a snare. I’m not crazy into Death Metal, but Tyrants Demise are quite the local act that I’ve seen a few times before and I’m sure will see live again soon. Throw The Fight sure made a fan out of me with their music and by talking with some of the members after the show. I purchased their CD, “Transmission” on the way out for $10, came home and put it on right away. The songs “Bury Me Alive” and “Scream Out Your Name” have been stuck in my head since. Lastly, All That Remains never fail to entertain when in town, or anywhere in that matter. I hope it isn’t long before they make their way through the Canadian prairies many more times to play The Garrick again and again.