Sleepy Sun at Respectable Street, Tuesday, September 14
With Strangers Family Band, Blond Fuzz, the Dewars
Respectable Street, West Palm
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
With at least one new venue appearing and the mainstays
suddenly more appealing to out-of-towners, it isn't difficult to get weird in
West Palm: For a Tuesday night at Respectable Street to start with the Dewars
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and end with Sleepy Sun exemplifies this. Pay attention to the locations
represented here: Beginning with locals (the aforementioned Dewars and Blond
Fuzz), solidifying the blissed-out theme with neighbors (Orlando's Strangers
Family Band), and finishing with California's Sleepy Sun -- a crescendo in themselves -- was a metaphor for the different kinds of hazy brainwaves one could surf last
night. They were vast, varied, and only became more wide-reaching throughout the
Sleepy Sun, five strong -- they performed sans vocalist Rachel
Williams -- were magical conjurers of
'60s- and '70s-inspired psychedelica and so soulful, almost jiving, that a whole
other part of that era was referenced in their attitude alone. Singer Bret
Constantino was singing into the microphone like he was praying to it,
switching from tambourine to acoustic guitar to recorder in one massive
breakdown, and toward the end of the set, the tow-headed guitarist assisted in
banging on the drums so intensely that the floor tom fell over. Sleepy Sun's a good
moniker for these guys: They bang out slow, bluesy, cosmic jams that might make
you tired only because listening reveals certain brightly shining
complexities. The tracks off their latest album, Fever, tended toward the intense, but even at their most manic, they could bring it back down with
supreme bass lines, channeling Jethro Tull and the Brian Jonestown Massacre and
some kind of California wood spirit.
Regarding the rest of the evening:
Sleepy Sun's madness didn't come out of nowhere. West Palm Beach folk rockers the Dewars clearly had the
intention of getting the vibe to a place of dreamy danceability. "Single Jingle" sounded heavier than usual and
transitioned, effortlessly, into Blond Fuzz's tried-and/but-true rock.
Strangers Family Band was fuzzy
and rich and recalled Maharishi Mahesh Yogi-era Beatles. Awash in background
visuals -- red-and-green floating dots and bubbles, like bacteria under a
microscope -- people swayed and even tried to dance to their endlessly swirling
bass lines. It is a symptom of this kind of music that it tends to drag, but it
has the ability to become transcendent enough for that to be an afterthought.
Strangers Family Band's influences were obvious, but this is not a bad thing.
All of the acts, in fact, drew upon the blues, psychedelica,
songs as storytelling, and all of them know how to make these influences
something their own. As Constantino stated midway through Sleepy Sun's set,
"Thank you to the Dewars, Blond Fuzz, and Strangers Family Band for starting the
night off right as fuck."
Personal bias: Sleepy Sun seemed mad confident.
By the way: Jim Jarmusch curated part of this
year's All Tomorrow's Parties, which means headliner Sleepy Sun was fresh off
the probable head trip of playing with the likes of Sonic Youth and the
Overheard: "We heard we
weren't that fun," Anthony Dewar said, referencing their recent Miami New Times review regarding
their show at Vagabond, "so we're going to try to spice things up!"
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