Sleep Token: Original Photograph done by Adam Rossi

Gig Review: Sleep Token


Written by: Dan @ Cherry Dog Apparel
Birmingham O2 Academy
Tuesday 17th January 2023

There is no picture or recording from the crowd that can justify the experience of watching Sleep Token live. Not only does this band put on a unique theatrical performance, but they also really know how to play metal.

There was great personal anticipation leading up to this gig, mainly because there was no expectation. This was my first time seeing Sleep Token and I would admit I hadn’t built up many hours listening to them beforehand. More so, and if I’m being completely honest, with no offence intended, I underestimated them. 

The vocals from ‘Vessel’ were exceptional and hit every possible note on the spectrum. ‘Vessel’ was a focal point of the band's presence on stage and with help from three amazing background vocalists, the lyrics cut deep and toyed with sadness, violence, power and passion.

I’ve always been a fan of drummers and have always had great admiration for those that can perform on stage and keep tempo night after night. And in speaking of admiration, a lot of it goes to the drummer who was incredible and played with one the best tuned snares I’ve ever heard live. Bass and Guitar were played together perfectly and made brut-iful sounds that blasted through each fan with insane amounts of bass. 

Halfway through the performance I realised that I haven’t actually heard anything come from Vessel other than lyrics. No crowd engagement or personal introductions. Which I actually found very refreshing in a way. It’s great when bands involve themselves with the crowd and hype them up, especially for those crowd favourites. However there’s something really pleasing about having no interruptions or interval joke breaks in the middle of songs. The set list ran smoothly and took the crowd through different emotions without the need of anyone announcing what the next song is or asking the crowd if we’re having a good time. It’s not like they’re the only band that keeps shum’ in between songs but it’s a rare trait at least, and I liked it. It matched their look and style and left me feeling the venue knowing I’d just watched something incredibly unique.

I also have to give huge credit to the support act of the night Northline. They seriously put on a good act! Strong vocals, heavy riffs and catchy beats warmed up the O2 crowd easily. Seems they brought quite a fan base with them too, so they’ll certainly be a band to add to your playlist.

So, based on my experience from Sleep Token’s performance at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, I say the next step is to see them perform at a festival. A festival stage that could provide them the adequate space for those additional theatrical presences plus some pyro! When that day comes I’ll certainly be in attendance, or if they just come back to the O2 again, I’ll grab myself a ticket again for sure! Overall, very much worth going to see! 

Original feature image sourced via Adam Ross Williams 

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