If you were to make a list of bands that were doing things differently in the current music scene you would be hard pressed to find an artist or band that have carved their own path quite as much as While She Sleeps are doing at the moment. As we see the band in a venue where you don't have a choice but to be shoulder to shoulder in the crowd we see When We Were Wolves, The Family and While She Sleeps destroy this Cardiff audience.
Over the past few years When We Were Wolves  has seen nothing but obstacles in regard to line up changes which has held them back as a band significantly so tonight they had a lot to prove to this sell out hometown crowd. From the offset, Wolves took to the stage with aggression and passion, frontman Mitch Bock appearing primed and energetic yet humble in the fact the band are standing on this stage. The new line up have at least had time to gel but they surpass all expectations in hammering out metalcore at its best. The addition of Aled Davies and Kieron Dix adds harmonies and deep growls/high screams to the mix to add that extra layer underneath the main vocal lines. The old classics like "Vile" and "Dying On The Inside" go down well but it is surprisingly the heavier tracks off the upcoming EP that really get heads moving. Tonight was proof that Wolves are still in the game and by the sounds of it this new EP is going to tear heads apart!
Heavy fuzzy rock band The Family  are up next as main support. So what do they sound like and who are they? Formed from the ashes of hardcore heroes Dead Harts, vocalist Matthew Baxendale's pursuit for a more melodic sound whilst fostering the groups love for Nirvana and aggressive delivery. Sounding like Nirvana with the tempo switched up and chuck in some screams and you are on the right lines. The band have riffs for days though and their lyrical content, which consists of politics/current issues, definitely hits home with this crowd.The Family's bouncy punk vibes get heads bobbing but left the crowd quite static.
That didn't affect or hinder While She Sleeps  though. Opening with the title track from their incredible new album "You Are We" the crowd blow up into a frenzy that lasts from start to finish. The band play as if it is their last show and the crowd are with them every step of the way. "Civil isolation", "Seven Hills" and "Brainwashed" follow and despite these being songs from the last three generations of Sleeps they merge effortlessly into a blend of incredible music feeling the same level of aggression and angst as if they were all released yesterday. Slightly more melodic "Empire Of Silence" has the pit in full swing (there is only room for one mosh pit). So by the time "New World Torture" kicks in all hell breaks loose.
At a small 350 capacity show like this there is always bound to be carnage, especially from a band like Sleeps. "Wide Awake" sees frontman Loz Taylor takes himself on top of a speaker to scream very intimately at the crowd whilst taking small moments to take it all in. He often dives into the crowd without pause knowing the place is so packed he could never fall. "Our Legacy" hits people right in the feels though it isn't until "Feel" where you can see people with their arms around eachother at the same time as moshing and crying. It was definitely a spectacle to watch!
"This Is The Six" sends the crowd into overdrive and it is incredible at this point that anyone can breathe in this ever-growing heat. That doesn't stop the band and the crowd from giving it all as one unit. "Silence Speaks" rounds off the set with an incredible response. It has already become the song where people look side stage and pray that Oli Sykes will come bounding out to sing his bit but the crowd singing it with Loz does just fine.
The Encore opens and in chimes "Four Walls" with that clean riff that makes you want to stand up and be counted. It has that affect on the crowd that somehow seem poised for carnage to ensue. Watching both crowd and band entwined singing the opening lyrics in unison is a highlight of the nigh; "So when the saints go marching in, they won't be singing for your sins, they just hope to hell you've learned something living and breathing..." Ending with "Hurricane", the song that has quickly become a staple banger for Sleeps is a literal representation of the title of the song.
Raw and passionate from start to finish with an overwhelming feeling of unity and belonging in the Cardiff music scene this was a truly mind-blowing show to be a part of. Tonight felt like more than just a rock band playing a rock show. It felt as if there was a movement, a wave to ride almost, and as the show went on the band people were climbing on the wave to join them. For tonight at least While She Sleeps had an extra 350 members in the band. Truly Incredible.
Photo Credit: Miss Nicklin