While She Sleeps – Sheffield, O2 Academy - 8 December 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Geno D and Claire Simmons   
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 04:40

While a lot has been said about the state of rock ‘n’ roll, one has to remember that, over the last 20 years, it has been splintered into so many sub-genres that the true feeling of what being in a band is all about kinda gets lost. ANYTHING CAN ROCK and music is music in its purest form.  It is about interpretation and use of the instruments that count – and, in the end, it is about the show. I am a radio host, a reviewer and a band manager in my spare time (when not working full time). I have lost count of the number of concerts I have been to, and bands I have interviewed over the last 25 years. But I do remember all the good ones and those that have left their mark on my brain.


While She Sleeps 5


One of the things I do enjoy is seeing bands when they first start and watching how they progress and evolve over time.  For a good percentage of them, they end before they really get going. Tonight's show for me is a bit of a surreal, as one those bands I met early on in their career was While She Sleeps, about seven years ago in Sheffield. For photographer Claire Simmons, it was a bit of a reunion, as WSS was one of the first bands she photographed, about six years ago. What we got was an AWESOME display of energy, rage, and showmanship. But we will get to that… 


I have been to many so called “sold out” shows at the O2 here in Sheffield - but tonight was truly SOLD OUT as this was a homecoming and last show of the tour for 2017. 


Shvpes 7


The evening was kicked off by Shvpes from Birmingham and that was enough to get the crowd fired up… two chords and lead singer Griffin Dickinson jumps onto the platform which ends up being his perch for most of the night. However, his extreme vocals and switch to clean is amazing and the rest of the band is tight. With one foot in the nu-metal camp and the other in the metal core camp they manage to have the crowd moving. While most indoor venues have taken strict measures against mosh pits and crowd surfing, there was no way it was going to be stopped. Once the invite to open it up... in came a very large behemoth of a man at 6'8 and weighing at least 300 lbs wearing a black t-shirt saying 'Mosh Pit Troll': at first the energy of the music was causing the crowd to go crazy when, all of a sudden, Troll fireman scoops one of the moshers and plants her on the hands of the crowd around the pit and so began the endless crowd-surfing for the rest of the set. In the the end the Troll scooped up at least 25 moshers and passed them to the front. At the end of their time, Shvpes left the crowd well pumped for the headliners. They did manage to highlight a new track off the forthcoming debut album, while the rest of the set comprised of the recent EPs.


Next up was Bristol punk outfit – and UR faves – Milk Teeth. While this is a good choice and the crowd are a bit more subdued, you do feel like that they just are in the wrong place on the line-up. Lead vocalist and bassist Becky is a little fire-cracker as she bounces around the stage and the rest of the band are quite animated. The crowd are not as responsive as their predecessors and there is no crowd surfing or moshpit. Maybe that was the plan... give the crowd a 30-minute break to recover before bringing on the headliners. In the end it was great little set and I am sure they will continue to gain steam in the future.


Milk Teeth


So, while the crowd goes out for cigs and to refill on beer, the stage is being re-set for the headliners: this did overrun by at least 15 minutes and the crowd started shouting “YORKSHIRE!!!” for having to wait. But, again, maybe that was the intention, because as soon as the chant got into a rhythm the house lights went out and the intro started. Without missing a beat, the chant switched to “WHILE SHE SLEEPS” and the show begins with a bang of fog machine cannons and a light show and curtain drop and straight into 'You are We' from the moment Lawrence hits the stage the crowd surge towards the stage in unison. With pumped fists in the air and a crowd of over 2000 growling along with him, I knew we were in for one helluva show.


This was an indoor show but felt like an open air concert. Lawrence made damn sure the crowd knew that and egged them on and on the whole evening. While metalcore has always walked that line of “is it true metal vs commercialised meta”,' WSS really don't give a damn - and neither does anybody else in the room. This was a homecoming show for the band - and their fans let them know it. The last time I witnessed a complete set sing along was at Black Stone Cherry! The fans know the songs and relate to them and the band sense this. The more the crowd reacts and interacts, the more their energy feed WSS. I have never witnessed so many people crowd surfing in one evening and it was amazing watching this from the balcony.


These guys know what they're doing and are constantly making sure that no-one is getting hurt and and still enjoying themselves. By the time the show starts drawing to a close, at least 200 people have gone over the barriers. And this is the moment when something truly amazing takes place… Lawrence leaves the stage (after already jumping into the crowd once before for a bit of surfing) during the solos of 'Crows' and makes his way up to the balcony where he climbs over the rail and takes a 20' dive into his sea of fans and then crowd surfs back to the stage. In the end, 'Silence' and 'Hurricane' are the last two numbers and even I couldn't help but be singing along. 


While She Sleeps 15


What an AWESOME show! To be honest, I have been to over 100 shows this year and this one goes to the top of the list as being the best. The passion, the energy, the show!  These guys have come a very long way since I first saw them, and are proof that you can still be on an independent label and, if you work hard and stay true to what you are doing, the rewards do come. While She Sleeps came home to Sheffield and Sheffield gave the lads exactly what they needed. A friggin’ damn good show of love!! 


Me? Personally, I would like to give the crew, and the Sheffield Showsec team, a shout out as they ensured that, no matter how many got across the barriers, no one was injured and that everyone was staying hydrated, as they must have passed at least 300 cups of water across to the crowd. In the end, it is all these elements that make for a great night of music and memories. 


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © 2017 Shot By Simmons/ Über Rock. You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.


All content © Über Rock.  Not to be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Über Rock.