My buddy and I were talking about how we wanted to go out. Like for the big one in the sky. He's been adamant about what he wants on several occasions. He does not want to be kept alive via machines. He wants the chords cuts. Cremate the body. Shoot the ashes out of a cannon (unhealthy Hunter S. Thompson worship, I know). At first he was saying he wanted no ceremony of any sort, but I got him to relent for all our sakes. After the cannon goes off and my buddy flies through the air in a billion pieces, the monster jam kicks in. "No tears, no bullshit, just booze, drugs, sex and rock and roll." The officiators of this party are King Culkin and I, and the entertainment is Big Sleep.
I've seen Big Sleep double digit times in the last year, and I will pretty much go anywhere for this band. From rooms so claustrophobic that the ceiling sweats to basements of bars for birthday parties, from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I have love and will travel for these guys. It's hard to really describe a band like Big Sleep. Someone last night said Big Sleep were their favorite 'sludgey' band. I brought a fan of real hard, ambient metal to see them and he did the classic closed eyes, back and forth bob and at the end said it was the first band he'd seen at Pianos that made him forget he was actually in that tiny room. Reminiscent of early Secret Machines days, Big Sleep usually take the stage in darkness, and have floor lighting with the power of a "million stars" (it really says that on the flashlight unit they use) casting shadows over the three.
Some of their songs have vocals, some don't. Some of the songs have intricate, intertwining keyboard and electronic parts, while others are guitar-bass-drums chuggers. All of the songs get you moving right away, only to have you switch up your bob mid-song when they take the song to a place you never expected it would go. Big Sleep do everything right and Bowery Ballroom was the perfect venue to see them in last night. Danny Barria, one of the best NY band guitar players around, has said, "we don't like the vocals to be super upfront. We kind of treat them as another instrument," and last night that point was especially clear as his guitar, vocal and electronic lines were perfectly mixed with Sonya Balchandani's bass, vocal and electronic lines, all propelled by Gabe's animated drumming.
The trio has recently signed with French Kiss records and will release their debut LP, Son of the Tiger, on September 19th. They've got a bunch of tracks up on their site if you want to check them out, but honestly, they don't do the band justice. If you live in NY and you haven't seen this band, catch them opening for Editors at Irving Plaza on July 28. Everyone else, keep an eye out for when this band hits the road this fall. You cannot miss Big Sleep.
Photos by Daniel Arnold