Live Show Review: Sleepy Sun @Neumo’s 2/8

Review by Willie Matthewson | Photos by Alex Crick

I don’t know who the crowd packed Neumos to see – either the alt-country crooner or the Seattle legends headlining the bill tonight (Mudhoney).  But I can tell you one thing: This crowd took notice of San Francisco’s psychedelic sextet Sleepy Sun.

Before Sleepy Sun took the stage, watching from the mezzanine above the crowd one would notice the requisite beer huddles behind the 2 rows of rock purists staking out their places at the foot of the stage.  As the band came on the stage there was no stir in the crowd, no eagerness to see what was about to unfold.  I’m guessing that most of these folks didn’t see Sleepy Sun last spring at the Sunset Tavern.  But that would not matter much longer.

This young group has been making music since 2007 and is currently back in the US following a European tour to support their debut LP Embrace. Their performance tonight proves that they’ve hit a fast comfortable stride that should sustain them through their 3 shows at this year’s South By Southwest Music Festival.

Drummer Bill Ward’s precise rhythms were wrapped with layers of dreamy guitars and punctuated occasionally by a bluesy harmonica.  Meanwhile the harmonious vocals of Bret Constantino and Rachel Williams added depth to the dreamy soundscape.  Sleepy Sun jammed through their 7 song set and left the crowd in complete awe.  The previously uninspired audience saluted their departure from the stage with resounding applause and catcalls.

Tonight’s event promoter said that he wanted a band that would make the audience take notice.  Mission (truly) Accomplished.

Most of the songs on tonight’s setlist are from their excellent debut album Embrace or previously released 10” singles:

  • New Age
  • Open Eyes
  • Sleepy Son
  • Wild Machines
  • Marina
  • Red/Black (my favorite!)
  • Sandstorm Woman
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~ by clickdagger on February 9, 2010.

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