Live Review: While She Sleeps

O2 ABC, 08/02

For all of rock music’s detractors, the crowd While She Sleeps draws isn’t made up of your usual punching bags. Albums like You Are We, along with the likes of Architects’ All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, are bringing people back to a genre that meant the world to them growing up. Suddenly there’s an urgency in loud music again, and the lyrics are pointed outwards at the world. We are divided more than ever, yet While She Sleeps storm on stage shouting “You are we”, promoting this idea of inclusion all throughout their set. This isn’t a crowd of teenagers in black but people of all shapes and sizes, united by the same message the band believes in.

But just like Enter Shikari, this profundity isn’t going to get in the way of a good time. Classics like ‘This Is the Six’ fit beside new favourites ‘Feel’ and ‘Steal the Sun’, the crowd surging with each riff. If anything, these new songs show the band’s improved dynamism, effortlessly going from conducting circle-pits to anthemic sing-a-longs. Megahit ‘Silence Speaks’ brings out a need to be seen and heard, arms in the air, voices in the process of wrecking themselves.

It’s that energy that characterises a While She Sleeps gig. It never falters, but it does flow, knowing when to whip up a frenzy and when to make space for a heartfelt chorus. It’s an impressive constant momentum, since anyone can drop a heavy riff but it takes people who believe in everything they do to make every note connect, keeping the audience invested – everyone would tire out otherwise.

As Architects veer towards more cinematic and progressive sounds, there is a space for both bands to exist in harmony (indeed, WSS supported Architects at their Alexandra Palace show), and by doing so they make the British rock music scene a very exciting place to be.

[Scott Wilson]

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