Sleeper at Shepherd’s Bush EmpireCultureMusicLive music
The Shepherd’s Bush Empire was host to reunited pop band Sleeper for a unique treat this weekend. Led by lively frontwoman Louise Wener, the group revived some of the best hits from their repertoire, including their well-known cover of Blondie’s Atomic, which featured as part of the soundtrack for Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting.
With only the drum playing at the beginning and “Sleeper” projected in neat, white writing onto the backdrop, the band then opened the night with the vibrant Bedhead. The notes resonated strongly in the arena, with the music at the highest volume. Thanking the audience for such a cheerful atmosphere, the singer continued describing the night: “It’s beautiful to be here. It’s a delicious thing”. As the crowd roared, Andy Maclure was already beating his sticks to the rhythm of Delicious.
The guitars were the pillars and the real protagonists of the concert. The chords and the arpeggios dominated every other sound coming from the speakers, almost covering the modulated voice of Wener, who herself picked up one of the instruments for some of the songs.
The frontwoman, leaping sideways and back and forth, led the show, wearing metallic ankle boots, black leggings and a simple T-shirt reading “super her”. Guitarist Jon Stewart gave an energetic performance: the effervescent artist could not help continuously moving, whether hopping on only one foot or plucking the strings with gusto.
With their bouncy attitude, the band played an intense set, although few of the songs stood out musically. She’s a Good Girl and Vegas were two of the highlights of the night. We had to wait until the encore to listen to more tracks that really made use of all the tonal possibilities of the vocals. In Alice in Vain, Wener’s husky voice marked it as a rock tune. For Factor 41, they requested a clap-clip-clap pattern from the crowd; the audience clapped their hands and snapped their fingers to the rhythm of the chorus, and became an integral part of the performance. A lively Sale of the Century closed the night, showering the crowd with bursts of white confetti.
Photos: Jon Mo
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Watch the video for Sale of the Century here: