Tuesday 15 October 2019

On Stage: Sleep @ Melkweg

I love a good stoner rock band, although sometimes when it gets too close to doom metal I find it hard to stay interested. I didn't know the band Sleep from San Jose, even though they have been around since the early nineties. They did breakup for more than a decade, but reformed in 2009. A friend of mine came over to see them play and of course I joined him.

Sleep at Melkweg Amsterdam, October 9 2019

Apparently the band are arriving in a space ship, because we get to hear the moon landing's radio transmission. After the three have touched down, they start playing their heavy grooves. The songs are long, slowly built up stoner rock anthems with only a few lines of vocals. Mostly it is bassist Al Cisneros and drummer Jason Roeder laying down a concrete foundation, where guitar player Matt Pike plays his riffs and solos on top of.

Sometimes when stoner moves into doom metal territory I find the slow metal music too heavy to enjoy for a long time. That slow low tuned music is of course the idea of the genre, but it isn't always for me. That's why I like stoner a lot better, where a psychedelic element is added to the mix. Sleep does have this element as well, where you can even hear traces of early Pink Floyd. The trio also showcases great virtuosity from all three members. It keeps their music interesting enough and I can enjoy it for the whole ride.

Cisnero cooks up some incredible riffs and sounds with his bass guitar. He gets a few moments alone, where he is able to show all that. Pike has some stunning solos where he is showing his skills with some tasteful shredding. Roeder is playing the complex grooves with great ease and makes the odd time signatures sound natural. All three are playing in a very relaxed way, which enables them to let the music breath. Clearly this is a very good band with talented musicians that play stoner and doom metal on a very high level. It's good to see a full Melkweg is able to appreciate it too.

All Pictures

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01. Marijuanaut's Theme
02. Holy Mountain
03. The Clarity
04. Sonic Titan
05. Giza Butler
06. Leagues Beneath
07. The Botanist
08. Dragonaut

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