27 May 2012
I went to Antwerp with two friends to see Sleep
. There were three bands opening, none of which made a big impression. First there was Jex Thoth
, which was kind of doom-ish, not really interesting nor spectacularly heavy. Second was Harvey Milk
, some kind of experimental band. It had traces of riffage and drone, but also a long piece were the singer was singing some emotional crap really out of key over an orchestral recording. First we thought it was a joke and we expected the band to quickly commence playing riffs... or drones... or something enjoyable in general... It took maybe 10 minutes before they began playing drone stuff again, which was not bad. But a concert shouldn't be a combination of lame and not bad.
Now I still remember a bit about the first two bands, it was three weeks ago, probably because I remember why I didn't care for them. I remember I thought the third band, A Storm of Light
, was okay, however I am incapable of recalling how it was. Now that's some impression...Sleep
was fucking heavy. Their show began and ended with Dopesmoker, which lasted ruthlessly long. In between they played Holy Mountain material. Sleep's Holy Mountain is of course a stoner doom gem, but the album's sound isn't nearly as crushing as Dopesmoker because it was recorded as a demo, sent to Earache and released unaltered. On stage Cisneros and Pike use lots of fuzz on their instruments, which makes the Holy Mountain songs sound equally heavy as Dopesmoker. This is a great way to hear the songs and made the show a really cool experience. They played somewhat slower than on the album which of course is a good thing. Sleep played for about an hour and three quarters.
I like how Al Cisneros totally isn't a typical stage beast but still gets the crowd go wild. He barely moves while playing, except for his head, and when he talks to the audience he seems shy and unsure what to say. He doesn't need to act cool, he is cool for being a part of the almighty stoner doom gods Sleep (and of Om of course), regardless of his (lack of) stage act. Matt Pike, distinctively shirtless, seemed more comfortably interacting with the crowd while pounding out classic Black Sabbath worshipping riffs.
If only the organization had scheduled more suitable supporting acts. It's not like there is a shortage of cool doom and sludge bands you can please a Sleep fan with!
[18 June 2012]