Sleep Token @ The Gov, Adelaide 2/5/2023
Sleep Token are not a band and this is not a show. It’s an immersive experience that delves into the parts that make us all human. It is sexual, it is sadness, it is anger and it is moments of bliss. The music is just the rhythm of it.
The Gov is packed out two hours before Sleep Token appear and yet there is no support act. The anticipation for metals newest mysterious figures only builds through the chatter and queues.
Sleep Token are not just some band though. A mixture of theatre, horror and ambient metalcore, the British boys are all about getting inside you emotionally as much as they are about the music.
The 75 minute set is full of pulsating beats and rhythms that captivate and hypnotise the audience into a sway that moves with the band.
This isn’t a crowd surfing type shoe nor is it a shoe gazer either. There’s something erotic about how the music just hums then beats before an explosive relief of tension that makes the show spellbinding.
The theatre of it all is the band are dressed in cloaks and masks, with heavy smoke filling the air, and have a set list that is performed like a story, with what seems like separate and deliberate acts to create space.
Act 1 opens with the ambient Chokehold that slowly builds to screams of ‘you got me in a chokehold!’ and then it’s the bass heavy The Summoning and it’s clear the audience is in love at this point.
Act 2 brings a hand waving Hypnosis and the violently sinister Like That before Act 3 has the main bulk of songs such as the glorious riffing of Nazareth, a Type O Negative fused Granite and Aqua Regia. It’s important to note that at this point no one has been heard farting in this Adelaide crowd, take note East Coast.
Act 4 has The Love You Want and Higher before Act 5 completes the show with The Offering bringing the house down. There is clapping, vocalist Vessel floats across the tiny stage reaching out as again the songs ends in an ejaculation of noise, devour and a state of bliss and relaxation.
Like any good horror movie there is time for one last play and Vessel appears again to do a solo version of DYWTYLM that has everyone singing along in a magical moment of connection.
Then they’re gone. They came on in a haze of and darkness and return there, still mysterious, still epic and having touched the soul of everyone here. Time for a post coital cigarette.
Live Review By Iain McCallum