The Medicine Tour (U.S.) 01/08/2020; Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, Belmont, Point North

The Medicine Tour
Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, Belmont, Point North
January 8th, 2020
The Bourbon Theater
Lincoln, Nebraska

Not even a brisk January night in Nebraska could hold back the excitement of the first night of Sleeping With Siren’s The Medicine Tour. There’s a lot of shit going on in our world and tonight’s concert couldn’t have come at a better time, even if it was on a Wednesday. The line, full of shivering fans dressed in their favorite band’s concert t-shirts, wrapped around the block. This was also a destination show for many fans. I spoke with dozens of people who’d traveled as far as Des Moines and Kansas City.
“Its the opening night, dude,” a young fan who traveled from Sioux Falls, South Dakota told me. “I’ve never been to tour opening show before. Tonight’s going to be lit.”
The excitement was both palpable, and understandable. With the standards that I have for concerts, each performance should always serve three purposes to the fans.
The first is to give us a chance to forget about all the crap that’s going on outside the venue’s walls and live in the moment, if even for just a few hours, while our favorite bands are playing. To quote one of tonight’s bands; “When all goes south, point north.”
The second would be to remind us why we listen to the music that we do and spark those hidden and nearly forgotten memories.
Third and last would be to introduce us to new music. The last one can be a bit vague though. Are we discovering a new band, or a new song? Is it the song we’re used too hearing in a heavy rock or metal style that is now being played acoustic or as a remixed version?
Tonight’s concert, the first of The Medicine Tour, would tick all three boxes. Like so many others, this would be my first time seeing Point North, Belmont, and Set It Off. Its always great to see new bands perform, whether or not you like their style of music. I can have a great time at any concert, and I know that sounds weird to some of you. It really doesn’t matter what kind of music is being played, its more about how the crowd is reacting to the bands on stage. If the crowd is having a good time, then the band is having a good time and honestly sounds better. Lets be honest, we have all been to those “phoned in” concerts and they just flat out suck. We can tell when the band is having fun (I’m looking at you Bring Me the Horizon), and when the band is just on stage to get their paycheck (I’m pointing at you Kid Rock).
That being said, Los Angeles based Point North, making their Nebraska debut, were a great show-opener. Their high energy was contagious and set the tone for tonight’s performances. The band used their time to live debut two new songs, Into the Dark, and Wasted Art, and even included their bombastic cover of nothing,nowhere’s Hammer. These guys, even as fresh as their touring career is, know how to project their stage energy into the crowd. It’s never easy to be the opening band and Point North gave a performance worthy of a headlining act.
Chicago natives Belmont, who closed out their 2019 with a string of British and European tour dates, got off to a bit of a rocky start because of sound issues. They pushed through it like true professionals though and built even more on Point North’s energy. Punk Pop really isn’t my jam but Belmont had more than a few fans in attendance to scream along to every song.
The excitement of the crowd grew with each band’s performance, and ticked up another notch as Set It Off took the stage.
Even though I wasn’t really into the style of music that Set It Off played tonight, it was really great to see so many people who were. The Medicine Tour isn’t the first time the band has toured with Sleeping With Sirens. The bands previously toured together for the Gossip Tour and had a stop at the Bourbon Theater in 2018.
Focusing on their most recent release, Midnight, the band surprised their fans with the live premiere of Catch Me If You Can. For nearly an hour, the band had the crowd bouncing. The band’s unique style of pop punk rock brought a new level of energy to the main floor. It also didn’t matter that I was the silent observer at tonight’s show. People were there to enjoy their favorite bands, and my inquisitive looks and cross glances did nothing to deter nearly a thousand other people from having one helluva night.
The crowd’s screams and cheers were nearly deafening by the time the lights went out and Sleeping With Sirens took the stage. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that tonight would only be my second time seeing the band live and that my first time was just a few months ago when they played the Threesome Tour with Bring Me the Horizon, and Poppy. I might not be the band’s typical target audience but there’s a certain connection with the music that is universal regardless of how old the fan is.
Kellin Quinn, the band’s vocalist, founder, and primary lyricist, addressed the crowd early on in their set, telling the crowd that he’d just flown into Lincoln and was impressed with how much the town reminded him of his home town. There was a message of hope within the lyrics of Better Off Dead, and Quinn wanted the crowd to know that its OK to be different and to follow your dreams no matter how many people try to hold you back. For their performance of How It Feels To Be Lost, Quinn asked the crowd to use their cellphones and light up the venue. The illuminated artificial star field gave a deeper sense of urgency to the track. That energy continued through Do It Now Remember It later, and Another Nightmare.
The band took a brief breather with acoustic performances of Scene Five and Scene two before smashing back into the crowd with Blood Line and Medicine (Devil In My Head).
The highlight of the evening for me though was the intense singalong for Agree to Disagree. Our local rock stations are currently playing the cut so it was no wonder that the crowd’s singing nearly overpowered Quinn’s.
The band’s set focused on their current release, 2019’s How It Feels to Be Lost, and a mixed in a handful of old school fan favorites from throughout their career. The band completely omitted tracks from 2017’s Gossip though, and 2013’s Feel. Quinn has stated that tracks from Gossip would no longer be played live because they don’t feel authentic to him anymore. That didn’t stop some fans from expressing their distaste for not hearing their favorite songs off of the album. Regardless of what anyone thought of their set tonight, Sleeping With Sirens have honed their stage presence and know how to put on an emotionally charged and intense performance.