Sleepy Sun with Hallow Moon @ The Biltmore Cabaret – May 10th 2012


Doors were at eight for this evening’s festivities, so I figured I’d just go and show up half an hour late for what I thought would be the start of an excellent show.

For once this actually panned out, as things didn’t get started until 10 PM. I’m going out on a limb and assuming that this was because there were only about 25-30 people there, but who knows. Thursday night isn’t really the best night to rock, but thankfully things picked up as the show started, and the Biltmore filled up a bit.

It all kicked off with Hallow Moon opening. I’d never heard them before, but I was blown away. They were great folk rock, with a bluesy twist at times. They were a local band, knew exactly what they were doing. They played a really solid 7-song set and didn’t miss a beat. They seemed a bit peeved that things started so late (or maybe I’m off my rocker), but they could’ve easily held their own as a headliner. If there were one local band that I’d recommend seeing that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing so far, this’d be them.

Sleepy Sun is a band from San Francisco, and on the All Tomorrow’s Parties label (the child of Barry Hogan who threw some concerts together with stacked line-ups). They’re a 5-piece, as Rachel Fannan left the band in 2010 (a fact that I hadn’t known due to a massive lack of keeping up with the band since I heard the first album), who play a mean psychedelic rock song. While their first two albums remind me of Black Mountain, their newest album sounds an awful lot like The Music, if anyone remembers them at all. Sleepy Sun has just released their 3rd album, Spine Hits this year, so it was going to be a new album-centric show.

Things started off with ‘Martyr’s Mantra’ from the new album, which was a great way to open the set with. It has a nice beginning build-up to draw you in, and the rest of the song doesn’t disappoint. ‘She Rex’ from the new album preceded the whistle opening of ‘Wild Machines’ off Fevers, leading into the odd-named, and laid-back ‘Siouxsie Blaqq’.

‘Desert God’, which seems to be a set staple hit with a great harmonica solo, and is easily one of my favourite songs by the band was followed by ‘Creature’ of the new album which has a slow pace with a couple funky break-downs for the chorus.

The big song of the night was what has to be the band’s best song. When they started playing the drum beat ears perked up, and everyone cheered when the sound of the claves followed. ‘New Age’ seems to be the crowd favourite, and they did a great job of the song, nailing the break in the song, leaving everyone holding their breath until they burst back in.

They finished up with ‘V.O.G.’ from the new album, and ‘Sandstorm Woman’, another excellent song.

Everyone clapped and cheered, as they said goodnight and left the stage…and then everyone just started to leave. It was almost bizarre how people were like “Ok, cool” and made their way from the stage. The concert ended with a single man yelling “ENCORE!” But no one else seemed to care.

I didn’t list 3 of their 12 song set, as I’ve had it with trying to pick out what’s what for another hour, but all in all, the whole set was really well done by both bands. It was kind of disappointing finding out that Rachel Fannan had left the band; they didn’t really suffer for it, but I had been really looking forward to hear the synergistic effect of their voices as one. If you like the psychedelic rock that’s going about these days, or love Black Mountain and The Black Angels (who Sleepy Sun toured with, and apparently that was how a few people that were there had found out about Sleepy Sun), then you’ll want to see both of these bands, as they both fit quite nicely into that kind of sound.

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