Down the rabbit hole
Sleep Party People - Live At Buffalo Bar, London

Straight away, the members of Sleep Party People disarm you. They appear in white bunny masks, a nice sensation when you are amidst the darkness and boudoir reds of the Buffalo Bar. This gives off an ambience of rock ‘n’ roll expectation, but the ambience that we’re about to be enveloped in is actually a fantastical surprise; a luxurious, sumptuous feeling. Yet, these bunnies are robed in black hoodies. Bunnies in hoodies? Some sort of statement being made here? Rumours have spread that they hide themselves because they’re shy – we’re sceptical about that. But it turns out when they begin their introductory song, ‘A Dark God Heart’, the relation between the music and their masks is revealed. When they then play the second song of the night, ‘Chin’, raucous, dirgey, dirty, and brilliant, the reasoning seems appropriate.

Heading straight into ‘10 Feet Up’ and not missing a beat, these bunny men are demonstrating their exceptional talent. They are tight as hell, producing heavenly sounds, like a lullaby before bedtime. Aching melodies lying alongside fragile piano absorb you, and then at once you are struck by a heavenly storm of guitar, keys, and crashing cymbals. The crowd, and it is indeed a crowd here tonight, move closer and closer to the band. They want to get intimate and their appreciation is clear, with furious applause after each and every song.

Further into the set and the high female like vocals sound as if these women have been hurt beyond belief, tainted with some inexorable injustice. Words are indiscernible, but it doesn’t matter, you understand. The music is always interesting, as it constantly draws the audience in further and further with atmospheric pop.

Sleep Party People play and manipulate their machines so well, as if they created them. Deconstruction, then construction, deconstruction, construction again. The crowd are being taken down a Steve Reich shaped rabbit hole and on a Tangerine Dream mind bending trip.

At the end of their set, after the track ‘I’m Not Human At All’, Sleep Party People, the rabbit men, remove their masks. Are they human? They certainly are not shy. The band have taken the audience on their designated trip and now it’s over. We have landed, woken, and have come back down. The disguises served their purpose but this band is not the type to drum up stage antics. There’s no need.

They are human, but with a magical touch, and what is revealed are four smiling musicians. Thanking the crowd, London, the bar, it’s clear they’re elated and it is oh so clear that the audience are too.

Words by Libby Moné
Photo by Helen F. Kennedy

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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