This is the modern age.
What a time to decide to return to the front line of pop(ular) culture.
This is not a time for the weak of will or faint of heart.
This is the time for stout hearts and iron wills.
How fortunate then that Sleeper are the band with both.
The perfect band for imperfect times.
Always willing to speak their minds.
Always eager to ruffle feathers.
Always ready with ready wit.
The safe option for a band in their position would be to play the hits and get off the stage.
Tonight though Sleeper prove, again, that they are not like other bands.
As the lights dim in the Liquid Rooms the strings and strains of Nancy Sinatra’s big Bond theme “You Only Live Twice” fills the room.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
(John 11:25, King James Bible)
Jesus lay in the tomb for three days.
Sleeper best that by 8027 days…give or take.
Dead save for the memories.
Yet now they are risen.
As that intro for “Nice Guy Eddie” bounces, beats and blasts its way around the inside of our hearts we are all resurrected too. The death of the ordinary life is washed from us and we move, dance, flail, sing and roar our approval and thanks for these greatest of all gifts…life and love.
There are more dates to follow so I have to be careful not to ruin the thrill of the evening by giving a blow by blow account of what unfolds…why should I rob others of the joy that I experienced as each song revealed itself tonight?
Let’s say this though…the only people disappointed tonight were those who were not there.
Sleeper in 2019 are more aware of their abilities, of their skills, of their gifts…they are bigger, bolder and braver. The presence of the incredibly gifted Amy on keyboards and backing vocals adds another layer to these songs…they are familiar but new, recognisably different. Things have been tinkered with, toyed with, teased and tickled to be something…else. The addition of Braintree’s finest, Kieran, on bass is also something to be welcomed…another change, another new face but, resolutely, defiantly, a Sleeper.
Louise looks thrilled by the reaction of the audience and by what the band are creating. She is the ringmaster. In total control of every soul in the room…she claps and we follow her lead, she points the mic at us and we roar our love and adoration at her, she smiles in our direction and we grin in response. Like a benevolent cult leader…we would follow her every instruction sure that whatever was demanded would bring us great joy.
Life is tricky sometimes.
Ups and downs.
Sometimes the downs seem too deep to ever navigate a path out of.
The ups sometimes seem to not be high enough.
This is why we love bands like Sleeper.
They know us.
With every killer riff, with every witty line, with every beat, with every lyric that could have been written just for us…we are taken somewhere better, somewhere safer, somewhere outside of ourselves.
What a thing to be able to do for people.
But I’m being honest with you.
Tonight wasn’t about hits and memories.
Tonight was about the modern age.
The new songs are the equal, maybe the better, of the old songs.
The old songs sound like new songs.
Sleeper don’t sound like a band from then.
They sound like a band for now.