Thursday, 2 September 2010

368 SLEEPER, Rialto, Libido, Swindon Oasis, Saturday 21 February 1998

Had a spare ticket for this one, but I couldn't even give it away outside, as it was nowhere near a sell-out, and everyone showing up already had tickets, with a lot of spares floating around as well. D'oh! Popped into the Oasis main hall - an odd venue for me, as this is where I play badminton! - for the opening set from Libido, 3 Norwegian rockers who have released my favourite single of 1998 so far (OK, it's only February, I know!) with the deliciously poppy "Overthrown". They played a most intriguing and challenging set of guitar rock; the early Wonderstuff comparisons of their splendid driving single were the only obvious influence reference points from a fine set I'd like to see in a small venue. "We split up last night, so this is kind of a reunion set for us," the vocalist told us. Erm, glad to have them back then!

Wandered around the venue, bumping into friends and Level 3 people alike, before Rialto's set. Despite featuring Kinky Machine's former mainman Louis, this lot are aiming more for a 60's B movie soundtrack cinematic urban pop feel, rather than the knockabout Kinks-like tunes of the Kinkies. One number, "Underdogs", was a total copy of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" by the Walker Brothers! Good taste therefore, so I nevertheless liked them, especially their soaring single "Untouchable", which was the first of the set in which the double drummers actually drummed different patterns! However, I thought it notable that my favourite of the set, "Skyscraper", was the one which sounded most like Kinky Machine. Hmmm...

Anyway, Sleeper. I've been consistently disappointed by their patchy recorded output (the splendid "Delicious" notwithstanding), but have always enjoyed their fizz and energy "live", so I pretty much disregarded pre-gig stories of their impending demise, and lack of interest and ticket activity causing tour venue downsizing. However from the off tonight they were poor; the mix was thin and reedy, rendering me unable to really hear much from either of the 2 guitarists, and they played their now dated-sounding Britpop like a band going through the motions, with little bite or enthusiasm. I even decanted to the bar awhile, bumping into some similarly disappointed Level 3 regulars in the process, and returned only for "Delicious" which even seemed flat and limp.

So, I left at 10.30, before the end of their set, to get home for "Match Of The Day". Verdict? Well, I'd seen a couple of fine bands with potential and on their way up tonight, but neither of them were Sleeper.


  1. Howdy, really glad to have found this review - It was the first "proper" I had attended...

    I bought the Libido single,and loved it - Their set wasn't memorable however... I either already had, or went on to buy the Rialto album, and loved both singles, Monday Morning 5:19 and Untouchables- I really enjoyed their set BUT...

    Sleeper were awesome. Well I remember them being awesome. Perhaps it was being a teenager, without the jaded ears and eyes of yourself - those same ears and eyes I now posses, but as a teenager with the thoughts that anything were possible that night, Sleeper were immense. I remember singing along to almost every word, dancing like mad, getting ridiculously hot, and seeing Louise first hand and falling in love.

    All the things you said were probably true, but we didn't notice, we didn't care, we fucking loved it.

  2. What a great comment, sheermusic, thanks for posting it. It for me sums up the beauty of music, that one genuine music lover can have the time of their lives whilst another just sees a bored band going through the motions. Who is right? We both are, of course! I've never pretended to offer anything other than my opinion, so thanks for yours. I hope you're still singing along, dancing like mad and falling in love with bands right now, because I sure am.