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Topic ClosedHalloween with Sleeping People

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Atavachron View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Halloween with Sleeping People
    Posted: November 01 2007 at 22:59
San Diego foursome Sleeping People opened their 2007 tour (featuring music from the new CD Growing released on the Temporary Residence label) at the small and slightly grunge Bottom of the Hill, located in San Francisco's Potrero Hill district.  I arrived about a half hour early and noticed guitarist Kasey Boekholt setting up on stage, so I decided to annoy him with some silly questions.  First I complimented the music on the band's debut, an immensely satisfying package of math-core.  Then I asked if they consider themselves to be 'progressive rock'.  After a long pause, Boekholt said acceptingly, "Yeah".   There you have it.

The crowd was small but receptive, though Sleeping People's music is not easy and even this hip young S.F. audience was at a bit of a loss.  Math Rock, as it's come to be, simply takes awhile to digest-- you attempt to listen but if you don't stay focused, it will all bleed into itself, losing the careful intricacies and subtle changes that give it purpose.  I couldn't shake the feeling I was witnessing a form of music still not fully grasped by the general audience.  But it was also clear that this movement will eventually get its due, someday a long time from now. 

A barely audible drone of bass began, sounding like nothing more than a bit of practice... and then they burst alive.  With a band like this, it is nearly impossible to review individual pieces, so I won't even attempt it.  One strange phrase of notes would start to develop, each measure slightly altered with an accent here, an inflection there, and slowly merge into another.  A sudden break and then another weird cluster of notes would emerge, evolving almost imperceptably.  But unlike jazz, math rock is not spontaneous in structure or direction.  The first thing that impressed me was leader/lead guitarist Joileah Maddock, surely one of the most skilled and commanding female figures in modern progressive rock.  The second thing was despite its rough and punkish quality, math rock musicians are not messing around... these guys count while they play, they'd be lost otherwise.  No, this is no garage phenomenon, the players involved are serious and seriously skilled.  Drummer Brandon Relf simply blew the roof off the place as well, and bassist Kenseth Thibideau is no slouch.   Sometimes brutally heavy, occasionally soft and delicate, the music is as cerebral as it is rebellious.  A form of numeric as well as musical expression.

The set was short and sweet, five or six bold and lengthy pieces of rhythmic play and that was it.  But in that period each person in the crowd knew they didn't like, didn't understand or were absolutely intrigued by what they heard, and I felt good about supporting a small prog band and bought a copy of the new release.  Nice evening.


Edited by Atavachron - November 02 2007 at 00:01
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