Before arriving at the Crofters Rights in Stokes Croft last December, my expectations of Sleeptalking were very high. It’s hard to find a single bad word written about them, and they appear to be making enough waves for Michael Eavis to have personally invited them to play at Glastonbury 2017.
Words like eccentric and flamboyant are often used to describe this Bristol-based quintet, and I can now safely say these are not throwaway words. Their effortless and dynamic live performance engaged the crowd from start to finish without any of the cringe-worthy self-indulgence that often comes as along with such descriptions.
Their effortless and dynamic live performance engaged the crowd from start to finish without any cringe-worthy self-indulgence
Before I get into the main event, I need to mention the support act No Violet. The female-fronted Bristol four-piece’s set transitioned effortlessly from slow and stripped back sections to fuzz-ridden walls of sound straight from the glory days of grunge. Unrefined, experimental and oozing cool, this band is one to keep your eye on.
It was the perfect support act for Sleeptalking, a band who live, sound much more eclectic then their EP Oh isn’t that Strange would suggest. The psychedelic sound of the guitar could at any point give way to some crunching, pixie-esque riff, exemplified on the track Mourn, which is only exacerbated live.
The psychedelic sound of the guitar could at any point give way to some crunching, pixie-esc riff
Lead vocalist Tom Nosek lends a certain glam-rock edge to the band (despite a relatively normal get up in comparison to his usual stage style), dominating the stage with his presence and note-perfect vocals. Incorporating all the flamboyance of an old skool rock and roll band without warranting any unnecessary comparisons to Axel Rose.
The band worked their way through their 2017 EP and single, All Hope is Gone, with the occasional musical break for a spot of showmanship. At one point Nosek ventured into the crowd, returning with an armful of band t-shirts, which he started throwing out to the crowd. I was so entranced by guitarist Freddie Strange at this point that one clocked me right on the head. Nice shot Tom.
Creating such a unique sound and delivering it in such an effortlessly engaging and natural way is really something these guys should be proud of, and is the reason why this band will be high on my list for anyone looking for recommendations.
Words by James Croft
Photos by Ania Shrimpton