Decided to write a review for those interested.
Sleep at The Fox Theater - Oakland, CA - June 5th, 2012
After a good dinner, the gang (My dad, my friends Alex and Ben, and yours truly) went into the Fox Theater at about 7. We got to the venue a few minutes after doors opened and there was no line to get it. This told me that this show would be just like the last time I saw Sleep, and people wouldn’t be arriving in bulk ‘til later in the night, which was totally cool with me. We checked out the merch booth. They had some really cool shirt, some new logo Sleep patches, and really cool show posters. There were only 40 or so made and they looked awesome, but the $30 price tag was a little much for me. Then we headed down to the floor and there was plenty of rail open so we grabbed some. I was pretty much in front of where Al usually is (stage right). We spent some time talking to some fellow concert goers and at 8 o clock, the first band, Kowloon Walled City, started their set.
Kowloon Walled City was a perfect band to open for Sleep. They’re a really heavy sludge metal band from San Francisco. They all had good stage presence, as they were obviously into the music and enjoying themselves. They had a pretty good sound, with earplugs in I could hear just about everything with the exception of a few leads. I was really impressed with them and definitely going to look into their music. I’d advise all fans of sludge/stoner metal to check ‘em out. They’re strain of really slow, sinister sludge is heavy as hell and well composed. They’ve got some really sweet basslines as well
After Kowloon Walled City, Tony of Metalsetlits came up to me and introduced himself. We talked for a bit then he peaced out. The next band to come on, Oxbow, would go on to put on the most interesting set I’ve seen this year.
I knew Oxbow was going to be interesting. After checking out some videos on Youtube, I knew their music was interesting as was their live set, but I still don’t think I was ready to experience for myself. After having incense lit and burning for a bit, the band came out and started their set. Musically, they’re really not that bad. They have an interesting take on stoner/doom metal filled with oddities and the singer definitely had a good range. He could hit really high notes and his yelling was quite menacing. But it was the singer’s actions that kind of made the performance shocking, for lack of a better word. Keep in mind, the singer is kind a middle aged black dude. As the set progressed, he gradually stripped off his clothes, ‘til about half way through the set he was just in a vest, his underwear, and shoes. And a lot of his dance moves were pelvic thrust type movements, so it was a little uncomfortable. It was definitely an interesting experience, but it was one I’d have no problem never repeating.
After Oxbow, I spent the time waiting for Sleep kind of just what-the-fucking with my pals. It wasn’t much of a wait for Sleep to come on.
Sleep were fantastic! They came on stage and everybody went nuts as Matt Pike started playing for the first chords of Dopesmoker. I wasn’t expecting anything crazy from the crowd, since last time everybody in the audience was just chillin’ with the exception of one douchebag crowd surfer. I turned back to see more than 5 groups of people lighting up, so I felt assured that everybody would just chill and enjoy the experience. I was wrong. Once the full band kicked in during Dopesmoker, I noticed some push and shove in the crowd. Through out the night it got more severe. There were some times that I didn’t mind it but it was lame when people would be shoving during the quiet parts of some of the songs. Plus crowd surfers were lame. In fact, the first crowd surfer tried to launch himself off of me, which I was not having. Even with the crowd rowdier than I had wanted, the performance was fucking phenomenal. Everybody played really well and the songs sounded great. Something I thought made the songs that much better is that they slowed down some of the sections a bit and they just really fucking grooved. The bass was really intense through out the show and sometimes a little too overpowering, but it felt great. Something I thought was just kind of badass was Al and Matt just smoking joints in between songs like it was nothing. Overall, the set was the heaviest thing I’ve experienced yet and a hell of a time. Sleep never disappoint in the live environment. If you get the chance to see them, do it.
After the show, my streak of shitluck for catching concert goodies continued. A pick came my way and it hit my wrist as I was trying to catch it. Before I could see where it fell, my friend Ben already picked it up off the ground. That asshole catches all the picks. Also, when they threw the setlist I got my hand on it, but it was between me and a tall dude. I only got my left hand on it, and once he got both his on it, I knew all hope was gone, but went out with a fight. I was a little pissed, but maybe next time……. Probably not.
Kowloon Walled City: 8.5/10
Somebody who caught a setlist was kind enough to let me snap a pic of it.