Album Review :
Oh Sleeper @ Marquis Theater in Denver, CO

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Band: Oh Sleeper

Venue: Marquis Theater in Denver, CO

Date: October 1st, 2010

By BMer

My buddy Tahoe and I ventured down to Marquis Theater in Denver to catch Oh Sleeper and A Plea for Purging. With only four bands on the ticket we were excited to see some extended sets, plus Oh Sleeper hadn’t been to Denver since they released Son of the Morning, and last time they came through they had to modify their set due to some of their equipment getting stolen the night before in Salt Lake City, so they didn’t play any new songs.

We were both under the impression that The Bled were headlining but that was not the case, Oh Sleeper headlined and I’m not sure they’re ready to be headlining. I’m a huge fan of Oh Sleeper but I was not overly impressed with Son of the Morning, I feel like When I Am God was a much better record, at least lyrically. Either way their set is comprised of mostly tracks from Son of the Morning and they just don’t incite energy live like the older tracks did.

Oh Sleeper opened with Son of the Morning, a great opener with tons of energy. The venue wasn’t packed but there were a good amount of kids still left after The Bled finished. Everyone pushed to the stage to sing along and even though we were down on the floor, we never really were in danger of any physical harm. I’m an old man these days so I like to stand right on the edge of the pit, but rarely ever go in. There wasn’t really a pit this night, either because the kids were worn out or because Oh Sleeper doesn’t really play breakdown-style music.

After Son of the Morning they went into New Breed. You could tell that Shane Blay has been improving on his singing, while its still not that great live, he’s much better than when I saw them last year on Scream the Prayer Tour. It’s got to be tough to sing on key with everything so loud, but he was close most of the time. The other change I was trying to pay attention to was the new drummer, Zac Mayfield. He was solid most of the night but he has some big shoes to fill, previous drummer Matt Davis was a beast and the drumming on the last album was crazy. With a new drummer on-board I was surprised to hear the band go into World Without a Sun, the track on SOTM that basically showed off Matt’s drumming ability. The song sounded good, but not nearly as tight as the recording (which can be expected).

Between each song Micah took a chance to talk, something that usually bores me, I prefer less talk – more rock. I would soon realize the reason for so much talk; the band only played 7 or 8 songs, not many for the headliner. Now they decided to go into some older material starting with Charlatan’s Host, one of my favorites. The song was building up to the best part, where the band cuts out while Micah screams “Let not my words be ripped from the mouth of a horror!” but just as we were all about to throw it down Micah stops the band to orcganize the Wall of Death. Total momentum killer and really just a poor decision; the Wall of Death is pretty lame and works best at the beginning of songs when everyone is already standing around, not during the middle of one of your best songs.

Anyway, after Charlantan’s Host they played the crowd favorite, Vices Like Vipers which went crazy. After that the band took a second to leave the stage and apparently get different guitars. Looking back I guess this was their “encore”, Reveries of Flight was playing as a track and Shane was still on stage and began singing the song. I really like this track and was pumped to hear it live. Lucas, the bass player, returned to the stage to encourage everyone to sing louder and the song began to build. Finally the entire band was back and ripping through the second half of the song. This led directly into The Finisher, a fitting closer to a set and had the kids realized that this was the last song maybe it would have been more chaotic.

After that the house lights came on and I looked at Tahoe, we both weren’t sure if that was it and I told him that they didn’t really have any more songs they could play, so I doubted they would play anymore. I was right; their set included 7 or 8 songs, almost 30 minutes of music. It seemed really short and even though they played well, it just didn’t seem like enough.

Earlier in the evening A Plea for Purging rocked the crowd with what turned out to be either the longest set, or just short of The Bled’s set. Plea, a four-piece now that guitarist Tyler Wilson has left the band to continue school and get married, filled out the sound really well considering there was only one guitarist. Later Blake confirmed that Tyler’s parts are synced with the click track but it was tough to notice since Blake handled most of the lead parts. Visually there aren’t many bands that can keep your attention quite like Plea, with lead singer Andy moving gracefully back and forth at the front of the stage, looking sort of like Kirby from Nintendo. Behind Andy you have bassist John Wand swinging his hair like a propeller for large sections of songs. It’s just crazy to watch. At one point Andy challenged the crowed to complete 300 stage-dives during one song, I think we failed miserably but it was fun to watch.

Andy also mentioned that it was some kid’s birthday and all he wanted for his birthday was a Wall of Death, so yes, for the first time of the night there was a Wall of Death. I don’t totally know all of the songs they played, but I’m certain they played Shiver, Golden Barriers, The Fall (Andy busted out a tambourine during this song), Malevolence, and The Eternal Female.

At least two of the bands mentioned that Denver was the biggest crowd yet on the tour which at first made us proud, but then looking around I was a little disappointed that other stops had less kids than this, since I don’t think there was all that many kids at the show in Denver. I wasn’t really into the other two bands on the tour; the opening band Let Live and also The Bled. A Plea for Purging is so good live and Oh Sleeper is definitely solid that if this tour stops in your neck of the woods you should check it out. It was less than $15 in Denver, and a chance to see Oh Sleeper live doesn’t come around that often.

SETLIST: Oh Sleeper
Son of the Morning
New Breed
World Without the Sun
Charlatan’s Host
Vices Life Vipers
Reveries of Flight
The Finisher