Wintersleep wakes up London

Halifax band returns to Call the Office, bringing friends

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Wintersleep

Halifax’s Wintersleep has nearly finished its quest to play in every major college and university in Southwestern Ontario.

The wears of a long tour did not show on the band members’ faces Thursday night despite Call the Office’s position at “the back end of the tour.”

Even though the group and its supporters, Wooden Stars, made the effort to stop throughout the province, fans from all over Ontario crowded CTO " including one from Brock University who had watched the show in Hamilton earlier that week.

Wintersleep came through London in November last year at around the same time. The increase in the group’s fan base was reflected in the lengthy queue of fans that stretched down York Street long after the doors opened " a feature missing from last year.

First to play was Attack in Black, whose single “Young Leaves” was spun relentlessly on London’s FM96. Its presence in London might also have helped in the massive turnout. The band had an interesting mix of folk, punk and shout-along southern rock.

Attack in Black

Up next was Toronto’s Wooden Stars, whose new wave sound incorporated odd guitars and vocals, but lacked the best part of any new wave band " the synthesizer.

Two members of Wintersleep took the stage with the Wooden Stars for one song near the end of its set, but overall the performance wasn’t memorable. Fans were anxious for the closers to come out, which they did, just shy of quarter to 12.

Perhaps his newfound success hasn’t hit him yet, or maybe it’s a testament to his Nova Scotian upbringing, but Wintersleep lead singer Paul Murphy had an embarrassed grin on his face every time fans sang along to songs off the band’s latest album, Welcome To The Night Sky.

An even bigger grin was seen when, in between songs, he would hear shouts from the crowd requesting favourites from the band’s ever-growing back-catalogue.

Wooden Stars

Despite being at the end of a long tour, the whole band was as excited to let London see its new material, as it was gracious to the large and generally well-behaved crowd.

In all, Wintersleep played 15 songs, nicely mixing new stuff with songs off its previous two albums.

Highlights included “Weighty Ghost,” the first single off its latest record, “Avalanche,” a must-add to any self-respecting music fan’s ‘boner jams,’ and the epic “Nerves Normal, Breath Normal,” the last song of the night.

Wintersleep has proven it is capable of writing memorable alt-rock songs, but with more recent songs like “Nerves Normal, Breath Normal” and “Miasmal Smoke and the Yellow-Bellied Freaks,” the band is also proficient at composing epic, progressive instrumentals, comparable to those of Explosions in the Sky. The live songs’ intricate build-ups put its recorded versions to shame.

Wintersleep’s performance was best summed up by one overly rowdy audience member who made it repeatedly known he wished they would “just never stop.”

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