Last Friday, the Tsongas Center was a scene of shrieking fans as headlining bands Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil took over the arena for the Massachusetts stop of their world tour. Also on this tour were supporting acts Mallory Knox, based out of the U.K. and Lowell natives PVRIS (pronounced “Paris”).
Fans started arriving early; the line wrapped around the side of the Tsongas Center and stretched down to the Riverwalk. This, of course, was no surprise because not only do their fan bases overlap, but Pierce the Veil and Sleeping with Sirens are currently the two biggest names in post-hardcore and have been for the past several years. As it got closer to show time, the floor in front of the stage quickly filled, the crowd was noticeably underage. Parents toting plastic cups filled with beer could be seen patiently waiting in the stands for the show to begin. As the lights were finally dimmed, the arena was filled with screams as the first act, alternative rock band Mallory Knox, took the stage.
Mallory Knox, although their fan following is not as strong here as it is in the U.K. Front man Mikey Chapman, in his charming accent, mentioned that this was their first U.S. tour owned the stage. Their songs became a hit with the crowd, including “Ghost in the Mirror” off of their second album “Asymmetry.” During their short time on stage, the band made a lasting impression on the crowd, getting everyone moving and earning cheers and screams by the end of the last song of their set.
Female-fronted PVRIS were up next and received a hometown welcome from the crowd. Lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, also known as Lynn Gunn, announced to the crowd that it was not too long ago that her and fellow band mates were standing where the crowd was standing because they all attended shows at the Tsongas before being discovered. They weren’t rookies when it came to big crowds after having experience playing on the Vans Warped Tour.
It’s hard not to compare PVRIS to Paramore, as seeing Paramore live in the seventh grade inspired Gunnulfsen to form her own band, but halfway through their set it was clear that PVRIS is very different. Their pop rock sound is well complimented by dreamy synthesizers and combined with Gunnulfson’s vocals which went from singing softly about heartbreak to a shouting chorus, which managed to quickly get the entire room off their feet with hits “My House” and “St. Patrick,” both off of their latest album, “White Noise.” In between songs, Gunnulfson continuously asked the crowd to stop fighting and pushing each other as the crowd got more and more energized. It was clear that if the fans did not like PVRIS before, everyone had fallen in love with them by then. By the end of their set, the anticipation could be felt by everyone as it became time for Sleeping with Sirens to go on.
After PVRIS ended their set, the room became a buzzing hive, filled with the chatter of the crowd as the stage crew started setting up the stage for Sleeping with Sirens. The stage seemed to get bigger as video screens were brought out and the drums were placed on risers. The sound check bought on cheers as fan recognized the instruments being brought out, knowing that in less than 20 minutes it would played by their favorite band members.
Sleeping with Siren’s started their set with a rather comical intro video created especially for the tour, featuring each of the band members. As each of the band members ran out on stage, the screams became louder, until amount of noise in the Tsongas Center was deafening as frontman Kellin Quinn took the mic. The band opened with their newly released song “Kick Me,” an anthem to the teenage underdogs in front a huge “kick me” banner that hung at the back of the stage as the crowd went into hysterics. The crowd sang along as the band ran around, climbed on top of speakers and jumped off, keeping the energy high for the entire set while they played fan favorites such as “Roger Rabbit,” a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and their popular song“If I’m James Dean, Then You’re Audrey Hepburn.” During the climax of their last song, “If You Can’t Hang,” off of their 2011 sophomore album, “Let’s Cheers to This,” Quinn asked the band to jump up and down while using as little energy as possible in order for the crowd to save everything that they had for the last act, Pierce the Veil.
By this point, the crowd had started to cheer “Pierce the Veil! Pierce the Veil!” for a good five minutes as the band’s crew began to set up the stage for the final act of the night. The crowd began pushing more violently as a white banner was hung up in front of the stage, adorned with the silhouette female figure from the cover the band’s most recent album, “Collide with the Sky.” One girl had to be pulled from the crowd due to the fact that she was crying uncontrollably as it got closer and closer to 10 p.m., when Pierce the Veil was set to come out.
The room had gotten eerily quiet like the calm before the storm, only to have the crowding screaming as the lights went out, revealing the silhouettes of the band members through the banner as the intro to “Hell Above” began to play. By the time the banner dropped and the confetti cannon blasted, the crowd was singing along louder than the band itself. Lead singer Vic Fuentes led the crowd in singing of some of Pierce the Veil’s most popular songs such as “A Match Into Water,” an acoustic rendition of “I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket” and “Bulls in the Bronx,” whose Flamenco-influenced bridge is inspired by the band’s Mexican roots. Fuentes repeatedly thanked the crowd for their response, saying that this was the second time that the band had played such a big arena show (the first being their “Spring Fever Tour” with All Time Low also at the Tsongas Center back in 2013). For their final song, “Bulletproof Love,” the band pulled a lucky fan onstage and ended their set with as much energy as they had started it with, leaving the crowd cheering for an encore.
Never failing to please, the stage lights came back on and the band returned for an encore, performing their popular song “King for a Day,” enlisting the help of Kellin Quinn from Sleeping with Sirens, who is also featured on the song. Though it was clear from Quinn and Fuentes’s tag-teaming on vocals to see why this song is oftentimes considered to be the best from “Collide with the Sky,” it was really drummer Mike Fuentes who stole the show during this final performance. With a final blast of confetti, to end the song, and picks and drumsticks thrown into the crowd, fans were left with smiles on their faces, the crowd disbanding as everyone went off to find their now exhausted parents.
From beginning to end, the concert was full of energy and it was clear why Rockstar Energy chose to pair up these two bands to co-headline the tour and fans were clearly given more than what they paid for.
The second leg of “The World Tour” has another month left in the U.S. before the bands head over to Europe for three weeks where they will visit German, Sweden, England, Belgium and the Netherlands.