"September 7, 2010"

Sleep - September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010
Starlight Ballroom, Philadelphia, PA

For those uninitiated into the world of the Weedian people and walking blind into Sleep's show in Philadelphia last night it would be hard to tell that it was a reunion show. So well prepared were the band -- original members Al Cisneros (now of Om and Shrinebuilder) and Matt Pike (High On Fire) along with Neurosis' drummer Jason Roeder -- that there was shockingly little communication between the band members. Of course, the verbal communication with the audience was pretty much limited to Cisneros' irritated declaration of "get off my fucking stage" to quash the stage diving (although it did little to stop the crowd surfers).

In what was to be a 2-hour long set, the band pulled out excerpts from "Dopesmoker" and were supposed to perform "Sleep's Holy Mountain" in its entirety. While "Holy Mountain" wasn't played in order per the tracklisting, it, technically, also wasn't played in its entirety ("Some Grass" was noticeably missing). The band wove pieces from "Dopesmoker" throughout the evening, using it as an appetizing kick off and a strong finale that found the band hitting their stride and making the end that much more bitter. The more noise-oriented sections of "Dopesmoker" didn't seem to fare as well in the set which was performed before a visual show that looked straight out of a 1970s classroom, showing dreamy visuals of fire, Stonehenge, astronauts and mountains.

There was no contact high for concertgoers but there were plenty of rabid fans and plenty of air guitarists soaking in Pike's riffs and his cheerleading while Cisneros seemed content to just bounce like a bobblehead figurine with his Rickenbacker bass. Roeder served as far more than an adequate replacement in drums, the fact that you didn't even notice the difference speaks to his skill and execution live.