Andrew Haigh witnesses a varied night of post-rock and progressive heavy metal as sleepmakeswaves celebrate the release of their new album...
It’d been a long time between drinks at the Metro Theatre, and it seemed that it would be Sydney post-rock exports sleepmakeswaves would be the act that brought me back there again
on a Friday night. sleepmakeswaves brought together four acts to kick off their first show of their Made Of Breath Only tour, celebrating the release of the self-same album earlier that day.
Noisy post-metal rhythms from four long-haired guitarists arrayed up front are the first impression of Stare at the Clouds. Drummer Cassandra Key pounds away in the back, and the overall picture is one of raw and untempered sound. The five-piece played to a thin early crowd but didn’t let that cool their spirits as they gave humble thanks to everyone turning out and to sleepmakeswaves for putting on the show. Bassist Evan Jackson looked like he was the band’s biggest fan, his face plastered in a massive grin throughout the short opening set.
As the last notes fade, Sydney four-piece Solkyri take to the stage with exuberance and the boys get straight into it. With Andrew Pearsall on bass jumping all over the shop, their energy and passion were infectious, getting the crowd up in a stir and drawing people to the front. Not one to pause or linger, Solkyri play loud with a distilled sound that punched through post-rock tropes and captures the appeal of bands like sleepmakeswaves. A fantastic set, they were in good form for the evening and the effects showed.
The audience is hungry for more, and self-described “fruity-arsed brand of prog nonsense” rockers Caligula’s Horse brought a cheesier, heavier sound for the second-last act. A night of debuts, with new guitarist/Nordic Viking Adrian Goleby and the first playing of a new song, The Cannon’s Mouth, inner-city barista styled frontman Jim Grey‘s higher register went to good work throughout.
A cheer rises, and kicking off with a sampling from their back catalogue, sleepmakeswaves put forth an overpowering wave of sound as the night was in full swing. Starting with To You They are Birds, To Me They are Voices in the Forest from their first album, Traced In Constellations from 2014’s Love of Cartography, and We Sing the Body Electric from their eponymous US promo EP, the band showed once again that they know how to put on a punchy opening.
This tour being their celebration of their newly-released third album, it would be remiss if the pace didn’t turn to selections from Made Of Breath Only and with the briefest of introductions from guitarist Otto Wicks-Green the boys kicked off four songs to make up the middle third of the set, starting with the pre-released Tundra.
Alex Wilson on bass remained a powerful and commanding presence throughout, loud meaty riffs and a wash of noise, but was also able to demonstrate his delicate keyboard work with the crowd-pleasing Great Northern as the penultimate track before closing with Something Like Avalanches, and one last hurrah with keep you splendid silent sun.
sleepmakeswaves are performers as well as musicians, and it is their ability to lift up a crowd that makes them so well-loved both here and overseas. The band never let up for a second, and if this performance was any indication then it looks like they’ll be going from strength to strength.