There are a fair few gigs to attend in this music writing business, but it’s not very often that the excitement of seeing a band has us quivering with anticipation for a good week beforehand. That is, however, the feeling that the thought of catching Sleep Party People’s first ever UK set at that haven we like to call The Lexington, has done to us. Hailing from Denmark and, by all accounts, having prepared a dazzling show for the evening, Sleep Party People have got us excited, and the support acts have very much caught out attention too.
It’s surprising to learn that the first band of the evening are still in their ‘live’ infancy, having only played a handful (or two) of shows before tonight’s. But this evening, I Ching prove that although a young band, they’re very much worthy of our attention. Sometimes they make us think back to the early art sounds produced by Foals, at other points, a lo-fi Tom Vek. But throughout the set, their music is engrossing with a huge amount of thought having obviously been placed in the layering and structure of the tracks. An opening slot hasn’t quite done this band justice, so we’ll look forward to catching them at a club date in the near future.
Next up is a slightly blighted set by London/Brighton based Fear of Men, as singer and lead guitarist Jess suffers from a few guitar related technical issues throughout. It’s nothing that’s hugely noticable to the crowd though, and although a very static show, the music is catchy and intelligent. It’s hazy, it’s bassy, it’s light and latest single ‘Ritual Confession’ and the clean, female vocal which leads the track is really interesting, with a highly engaging lead vocal line. It’s a shame that technical troubles interfered with what was otherwise a good set, but there was plenty there to whet our appetites enough to want to check them out again soon.
All of a sudden, the hour is upon us and it’s time for the last band of the evening, Sleep Party People to take to a stage adorned in a manner that we’ve come to expect from reports of the Danes’ live show. White sheets are draped over all manner of instrumentation, as the band – tonight, appearing as a three piece – take position, hoods firmly up, white, floppy bunny masks in place, lights dimmed.
It’s a little bit like watching a spooky, children’s fairytale as the band work their way through the tracks from their eponymous debut, bunny masks bouncing to the entrancing mix of live and programmed drums, as vast and encompassing synths lead the melodies. To the right of the stage is the drummer, standing behind a bass drum, cymbal and drum pad, and next to him is a multi-instrumental bunny who flits effortlessly between keyboards, a guitar and vocals. And finally, on the left there’s the mind that conjured the project. Seated behind a keyboard with an astonishing array of pedals and triggers in front of him is Brian Batz, the creator of Sleep Party People. It’s his highly manipulated, childlike vocal which swoops hauntingly over the top of the mix, his lyrics indecipherable, but the tones and triggers telling stories all of their own.
“Spooky children’s fairytale” isn’t necesarilly a description that fits the whole of this band’s set though, as tracks such as ‘Our Falling Snow’ and ’10 Feet Up’ prove that upbeat, driving melodies and textures are also a very strong feature of Sleep Party People’s music. ‘A Sweet Song’ and ‘In The Morning Sun We Stand’ highlight the softer, more delicate sounds of the band’s music, and show off the range of emotions that this collective are capable of touching through a simple key change. The entire set is completely entrancing, the music is absorbing and the whole atmosphere created through the aesthetic presentation has made it feel truly special. Closing the set with the outstanding ‘I’m Not Human At All’, Sleep Party People have not left us disappointed and prove to have made quite an impression on tonight’s audience at The Lexington. As a first UK show, this was very successful indeed and as the bunny masks are lifted, we’re assured that there’s a huge amount more to this band than just a gimmick. There’s a lot of soul, a lot of thought and a huge amount of inspiration gone into this music, so here’s hoping they’ll come back again soon.