Sleepy Sun Rocks The Echo
Amidst a blue-lit stage, two harmonized voices reverberated over the heads of a huddled, yet strangely quiet, crowd; the sound of a heavy bass line mixed with a slow, raw guitar riff and rhythmically rolling drums. Being anything but your typical group of obscure musicians, Sleepy Sun is a band that seems to transcend generality.
Playing to a packed house on Sunset Boulevard, Sleepy Sun brought out Los Angeles's most dedicated music-junkies as they performed songs from their debut album Embrace and most recent label release Fever, last Friday at the Echo in Los Angeles.
Despite images of rowdy crowds and rock-n-roll, this band goes against the grain both musically and in fan typology. "Most people have classified us as 'stoner rock,' maybe because we bring out a more connected response from our fans. Usually, hard-core fans are rowdy and dancey. Ours seem to quietly absorb us," said lead singer Bret Constantino. "It's amazing."
The band performed eight tracks from their albums, with each song displaying a mixture of heavy yet defined drum lines, definitive guitar riffs, drawn out bass lines, and slow, psychedelic breakdowns. These, combined with the communal nature of their stage presence, gave the impression of watching a jam session at a friend's house rather than a bonafide musical showcase.
The sextet includes lead vocals by Bret Constantino and Rachel Williams who bring a sort of transcendental essence with their soft, concise vocal harmonies and echoed remoteness. With Matt Holliman and Evan Reiss on guitar, bassist Jack Allen, and drummer Brian Tice, the musical outcome is substantive and lyrical, each song having a superbly definitive structure.
According to The Echo's Web site, attheecho.com, "[Sleepy Sun] dispenses earth-quaking riffage in such carefully measured, perfectly spaced-out rations, it tricks you into thinking the band is much heavier than it actually is."
Rachel Williams brings yet another uniquely fascinating aspect to the live performance with her gyrations and whimsical dance moves.
"Rachel brings a real aura to the live shows. When she's dancing in the middle of all that music, she's consumed in a reality all her own," said long-time fan Jake McHale of the performance last Friday. "Her dancing seems to be the physical manifestation of the music's essence."
Sleepy Sun originally hails from Northern California, from areas in-and-around the San Francisco Bay area. Once coming together in Santa Cruz as a garage band, however, they were signed with the label ATP Records, who produced their first album "Embrace" and the up-coming album "Fever."
With their recent stop in Los Angeles on a city-wide US tour, Sleepy Sun is gaining further momentum with their highly anticipated collaboration with the British band U.N.K.L.E, an upcoming tour with the acclaimed band Arctic Monkeys, and performances at the "South by Southwest" music festival later this month.
With these upcoming ventures and a unique and musically relevant sound, Sleepy Sun is a band that will do anything but put you to sleep.