It’s been almost an entire year since While She Sleeps announced they were headlining Alexandra Palace. The band, who supported Parkway Drive at the venue in September 2022, handed out flyers to attending fans, as well as brandishing a white banner at the end of their support set which read “While She Sleeps Headline Alexandra Palace September 23rd 2023”.
I was skeptical as to whether the band would manage to sell out the venue, considering that Parkway Drive didn’t, however they proved me well and truly wrong as on September 23rd 2023, While She Sleeps would headline a sold out show at Alexandra Palace.
The boys from Sheffield were supported on their biggest UK headline show to date by the Australian metalcore band Polaris, as well as the Southampton based Bury Tomorrow. Polaris opened the night with a bang, as they well and truly understood the assignment of being an opening support band.
The band from down under played an energetic 7 song set, whilst also taking a moment to pay tribute to their late guitarist Ryan Siew who died earlier this June. A powerhouse performance with a brief but poignant moment, Polaris demonstrated perfectly what playing a support set is all about.
Bury Tomorrow would take to the stage next to keep the energy up and did so expertly. Having never seen Bury Tomorrow before and only briefly listened to their music, the band completely converted me with their exceptional talent, especially from unclean vocalist Daniel Winter-Bates.
Although Winter-Bates was wishfully thinking as he asked for record breaking numbers of crowd surfers and mosh pitters nonetheless his attempts to make that happen didn’t detract from a vocal performance that, in my opinion, should’ve earned those numbers. After an exceptional 9 song set, the band plugged their upcoming headline tour which features support from We Came As Romans, and after that performance, I’ll be seeing them there.
Finally, after almost a year of anticipation, While She Sleeps finally took to the stage to fulfill their promise to headline Alexandra Palace. The boys from Sheffield wasted no time as they blasted through their set with crowd interaction kept to a necessary minimum.
While She Sleeps exploded onto the stage with “Sleeps Society” which seamlessly blended into “You Are All You Need”. The band would continue to perform heavily off their latest record as the set list also included; “Eye To Eye”, “Know You Worth (Somebody)”, “Fakers Plague”, “Systematic”, and “Enlightenment(?)”.
Despite 7 of the 18 songs played featured off their latest record Sleeps Society, While She Sleeps filled the rest of their set with a healthy mix from their past records, as well as, their future. Around midway through their set, the band debuted their latest track “Self Hell” from their yet to be released album of the same name.
The track which While She Sleeps themselves have quipped sounds like a Limp Bizkit song, inspires hope for their upcoming record, as well as, the continued rise and evolution of While She Sleeps as a band.
Perhaps what made While She Sleeps’ Alexandra Place show live up to the year long hype, was their inclusion of older and lesser played songs in their setlist. Setlist mainstays such as “You Are We”, “Four Walls” and “Silence Speaks” were played.
However longtime fans were rewarded with the likes of “Our Courage, Our Cancer” and “Seven Hills” from the band’s debut album This Is The Six, as well as, “Our Legacy” from their sophomore record Brainwashed.
Personally, I would’ve much preferred they played “Brainwashed” instead, however I do understand “Our Legacy” is a fan favorite track and not played as much, thus making its inclusion on the set all the more special.
I would fortunately be pleasantly surprised early in the set by the inclusion of “Haunt Me” from the band’s fourth album So What? This is a personal favourite track of mine that I haven’t seen played live despite seeing While She Sleeps live five times, so hearing it live was a lovely surprise for me.
Overall, While She Sleeps were triumphant at Alexandra Palace. After a year to hype the night, the boys from Sheffield pulled out all the stops to demonstrate why they deserve to be on that stage.
With an excellent selection of support acts, as well as, a career spanning set that rewarded both die-hard and newer fans, While She Sleeps prove they are one of the best metal bands working today.
Seeing these guys evolve as a band whilst maintaining an extraordinary gratitude for their fans and pride in their achievements is heartwarming to see.
Alexandra Palace was another milestone in While She Sleeps’ incredible success stories and I personally can’t wait to see what Self Hell and the future of these boys has to offer. Next stop the O2?
Words by Dan Harden + Photography by Martina Antonia Liberini