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CONCERT REVIEW - SLEEPING WITH SIRENS, DON BRACO, POINT NORTH, & GARZI @ OBSERVATORY OC, SANTA ANA, CA ( 08.06.22)

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When I was a kid, the first wave of pop punk was taking over the airwaves of MTV with the likes of Blink 182, Green Day, and Sum 41. I was hooked instantly! I had even convinced my mom to buy me Blink 182’s Enema of the State album, regardless of the fact that there was a Parental Advisory sticker on the cover. Because of these bands, pop punk has always been one of my favorite genres of music out there. So, when the second wave of pop punk hit the music scene in the mid to late 2000s, I was transported back to my childhood. A lot of these bands blended a lot more heavier aspects to their music that lets my now older self go even crazier for this kind of music. One of these bands that I love blasting out my car stereo is Sleeping with Sirens. I’ve seen them as a support band for a festival, but now it was time to see them headlining their Ctrl+Alt+Del Tour as it came to the Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Bringing along the bands Don Broco, Point North, and Garzi.

Opening the show this night was the only artist that I was not familiar with. But if he was part of this tour, I knew he would fit in just fine. That would be the stylistic artist known at Garzi. When you’re the opening band it can sometimes be hard to win over a crowd that is not familiar with. I feel Garzi took this as a personal challenge, as he was determined to win over the crowd and get them singing a long to as many songs as possible. Garzi’s stage presence and charisma oozed out into the crowd. Running back and forth across the stage, singing into the faces of the front row, and jumping off the stage riser as much as possible, Garzi was a madman on stage. Backed by guitarist Blake Saul and drummer Chase Vernon, these guys created the perfect new age style pop punk beats that had the crowd fall in love with Garzi’s music. Playing songs like “Demonstrate,” “Wake Up,” “Higher,” “Sick Of Me,” “Hopeless,” “Hello/Goodbye,” “Summer,” and closing out his set with “Mess.” Garzi was the perfect opening act to get the crowd excited and hyped up for the night that was to come.

The next band up to the stage was a band that has been making waves in the pop punk scene for the last couple years.  Point North had come to Santa Ana ready to keep the pop punk madness going. Fronted by lead singer Jon Lundin whose vocals had somewhat of a classic sound to them. Lundin has a voice that once you know the chorus to the song, you can harmonize with him perfectly and feel like you are in sync with the band. Guitarist Andy Hershey was not set to just riff in the background of the stage. He was at the foot of the stage consistently rocking out right in people’s faces, and they were going crazy for it. Filling in on drums was Chase Vernon, who blended perfectly into the band. His attitude and drum technique fits the pop punk style to a T. With songs like “Never Coming Home,” “Erase You,” “Recover,” “Ghost in my Home,” “Into the Dark,” and closing with my personal favorite song “Gasoline.” Point North may have just dropped their debut album in 2020, but they are already proving that they fit right into the music scene and should be heard.

Besides the headliner, the next band was the one I was most excited to see. The English pop rockers known as Don Broco. One of my friends fortunately had just gotten me into these guys about a month before this show, and I am so thankful she did. The energy that Don Broco brings to the stage is big enough to fill a stadium, and the whole crowd was on their feet the entire time. Front man Rob Damiani is a force to be reckoned with. His powerful vocals and energy on stage could not anyone off their feet. All the while wearing slacks and a pink polo shirt, looking like he was running late coming from work. I don’t know anyone that could dress like they work an office job, and then absolutely destroy on stage with music like Don Broco has. Damiani isn’t the only singer of the band, as drummer Matt Donnelly both blasts away on the kit all the while layering his more melodic vocals with Damiani to create a unique style. Guitarist Simon Delaney and bassist Tom Doyle use their instruments in a more unique way to trade off riffs and harmonies with each other. Playing songs like “Everybody,” “Gumshield,” “Come Out to LA,” “Uber,” “You Wanna Know,” “Pretty,” “Bruce Willis,” and ending their set with “T-Shirt Song.” With the last song Damiani got a good chunk of the crowd to rip their shirts off and swirl them in the air. Don Broco surpassed any expectation that I could have had for them, and I want more.

Finally. It was time for the band we’ve all been waiting for. Sleeping with Sirens was ready to unleash hell in Santa Ana. As the opening snare hits to “Break Me Down” started blasting out into the audience, the crowd erupted with energy. Singer Kellin Quinn hit the stage with a commanding presence. Strapped with his heavily taped microphone, ready to be swung around the stage. Quinn has a vocal style that pierces through any amount of energy so that you hear him and hear every word that he sings. Rhythm guitarist Nick Martin sticks out in a crowd with his fiery red hair, and rhythmic melodies that let touring guitarist Tony Pizzuti go crazy with the lead guitar riffs. Bassist Justin Hills somehow manages to be the most expressive person on stage. As he flails around and plays up to the audience, he’s almost like a cartoon character come to life. Drummer Matty Best is doing more than just his best behind the kit. The way he accents his grooves just adds some much more texture to his drum parts. Sleeping with Sirens kept their momentum going nonstop with songs like “Kick Me,” “Leave it all Behind,” “Talking to Myself,” “Go Go Go,” Better Off Dead,” and “Agree to Disagree.” Then they did slow it down for a moment, as Nick and Kellin performed three acoustic songs for the audience which included “Ears,” “Roger Rabbit,” and a beautiful cover of the Goo Goo Dolls song“Iris.” Ending their set with “If You Can’t Hang” Kellin gathered the biggest dudes in the pit and told them to not drop him. As he headed to the back of the stage, Kellin dove across the crowd to crowd surfer for the ending moments of the set.

 With the energy that each band was bringing, the crowd never truly had a moment to stop and catch their breath. We did have one moment to breath though. During set change the opening note to My Chemical Romance’s song “Welcome to the Black Parade” played, and just as the entire crowd was about to sing the opening lyric, the song jumped to Rick Astley’s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The bands had just Rickrolled us. Half the crowd boo’d, while half the crowd erupted in laughter. It was much needed break to release a lot of the adrenaline that had been built up. From Garzi to Point North to Don Broco to Sleeping with Sirens, this night was the night for everyone in the crowd to unleash all the stress and anxiety that had been building up. And it was a much needed release.

 

Matt Martinez

Photojournalist - Orange County

Website: www.instagram.com/red_hareimages Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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