There’s a certain level of understanding when one enters a live show: that the crowd is brought together with one common interest, for the love of music and for the love of the bands in question. And everyone feels a little bit special, that tingle of butterflies enters your stomach and flutters throughout the show. When you walk into that show, you know that the money you paid for that ticket helps fund the dreams of the bands that are playing. But when half of the proceeds of your ticket goes to charity, a completely fantastic cause Mind, now that is a humbling experience altogether. For this intimate show at The Exchange, As Sirens Fall created the most heartfelt and warming evening of music for this very reason.
The return of the local lads to their hometown in Keighley was a highly anticipated event indeed, for a fair few months have passed since their talents last graced the stage. Joining them as first support act were Bad Machines, with a haunting rock feel that was the optimum, powerful way to open the night. Following the was a lick of punk from Leeds band Accident/Happy, whose jeering tracks brought a sense of fun to the room. Finally, hailing from Southampton, Elements brought proceedings back to the rock end of the spectrum, and wonderful vocals in ‘Make It Out Alive’.
As the lights dimmed once more, copious amounts of smoke filled the air, almost reminiscent of an adolescent school disco. As Sirens Fall entered and shone with ballsy, metal track ‘State of the Artist‘, before vocalist Mikey Lord announced to the crowd that The Hospital Party, their debut album, was over, signalling the pathway onto something new.
Knowing that this was their last chance to rock, dance and go absolutely insane to some of As Sirens Fall’s most iconic and energetic songs, the crowd wasted no seconds being still or quiet, and spent every drum pulsing moment enjoying what was left of this incredible party. Going back to their roots with debut track ‘From Across the Waves‘ was mesmerising against the polarising present ‘Like Vultures‘, and showed just how richly talented they were from the start, but have continued to progress phenomenally with every lyric they pen and every note they write.
EP closer ‘Last Goodbyes’ followed with a jaunty, light-hearted tone before the lights completely blackened and the band departed offstage, leaving Lord alone with a keyboard for ‘Getaway’. The room lit with the fire of everyone’s phone screens, torches and camera flashes, and the sparkle danced as they swayed gracefully to the piano and building guitar riffs.
And what began as a special night became more incredibly touching than anyone could ever express in the seconds that followed. Lord confessed that the next song was never played before and admitted that he scrapped this song initially because it “sounded too much like Whitney Houston”. But it was rescued from the ethers of discarded music as it was written about and dedicated to Lord’s late fiancée. He took proudly to the mic for ‘She Runs with the Wolves’.
It’s not often a song comes together with every single component in the exact place that it needs to be and performed in such a way, that it touches every heart in the room. ‘She Runs with the Wolves‘ does this and more. The way the riffs build, the seemingly random, sassy drum beats in the second verse, the perfectly fitting ‘ooh, woah oh’s‘ for audience participation, ‘She Runs with the Wolves‘ was never a song to be hidden away, or cast aside. Lord’s voice radiated and strained through the passion of every single note he belted, and was married perfectly against the crashing drums, executed seamlessly by drummer Jarlath McCaughery. It is the kind of song that you don’t come across often, but when you do, you remember it in an hour, in a week and in a year: it stays with you forever. It easily brought the biggest and loudest cheer of the night.
The night closed with ‘The Hospital Party‘ favourites ‘Smoke’ and ‘Where We Are‘, with driving and bouncy riffs that had a similar effect on the already energetic crowd. Lord’s stage presence and interaction with the crowd is wonderful to watch. He embraces it boldly along with his musical comrades, particularly bassist Jason Doveston, whose passion to bounce while shredding punky bass is impressive to say the least. And while it may be sad to bid adieu to ‘The Hospital Party’, it’ll be incredibly exciting to see where As Sirens Fall take their journey to next.