Live Coverage || While She Sleeps, Seasons AC @ Gagarin 205, 13/9/2019

While She Sleeps finally made their way to Greece in the fall of 2019. The Sheffield powerhouse had cancelled their first scheduled appearance last year, so it was only natural that when new shows were confirmed in both Athens and Thessaloniki, fans were ecstatic. I can't even begin to describe the excitement I met upon my arrival at the venue, with a crowd of all ages armed with WSS tees and ready to start a war.

When I made it into the venue, openers Seasons A.C. were already on stage. I hadn't seen these guys in a minute and it was nice to witness how they have grown and evolved musically. They did a fantastic job warming up the crowd, which responded warmly to their melodic tunes. 
Time had come for the headliners to go on and the ambiance in the room was electric. Upon seeing the band reaching the side of the stage, fans in the first row started chanting their name loudly and banging on the metal barrier. As soon as the choral intro sounded, a familiar feeling overwhelmed me, and my "I'm-not-ready-for-this" mindset gave way to "hell-yeah-let's-do-this!". 

While She Sleeps made the grand entrance with the hymn "You Are We", followed by "Anti Social", and the party had officially begun. The band looked genuinely happy to be on stage, feeding on the fans' energy. Guitarists Sean Long and Mat Welsh were jumping and kicking the air, while bassist Aaran McKenzie was restlessly moving up and down the stage. The  audience sang back passionately the lyrics, gradually starting to mosh and it wasn't until halfway through the show when we saw the first stagedivers. Wait, would that include vocalist Loz Taylor too? Screw it, yes it would. Not only did he go "swimming" occasionally, greeting fans mid air while at it, he also crowdsurfed to the back of the venue, ran up a flight of stairs to the balcony with a fractured ankle, climbed up the railing and jumped down, to the crowd, as if it was no big deal. What. A. Legend. 
Moving on. The choice of songs was unusual, as the band didn't focus on their latest album, "So What?" as one would have expected for that touring cycle, but rather on the previous one. It was also surprising that not one but two older songs made it into the setlist, "Seven Hills" and "Our Courage, Our Cancer" (which may or may not have found yours truly singing at the top of her lungs and ridiculously out of key). Discussing the show afterwards, I believe the general consensus was that older fans would have loved one more song from that era, like "This Is The Six" to satisfy what initially drew them to the band. Maybe next time.

After a little over an hour, While She Sleeps bid us farewell with "Silence Speaks" and "Hurricane" and left us with some very vivid memories and our ears ringing. Their long overdue visit to Athens was a truly remarkable experience and one of the best shows most of us have seen. The quintet proved why they are the best band of their generation and we certainly can't wait for them to come back.

All pictures by Dearohwell photography

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