Born to be Rock Stars: A Review of Sleepy Sun @ The Chapel


Sleepy Sun headlined at the Chapel last Thursday, and good God almighty — I think I might have just found my new favorite local band in San Francisco, coming in the form of some strong psychedelic rock.

After about 30 minutes of Mystic Braves trying their hardest to be original and authentic, Sleepy Sun took the stage to show a nearly packed house just how it’s done. With an insane ability to play incredibly deep, powerful and energetic riffs at a slow tempo, the band unleashed a sound that is probably best described as “gnarly”. Lingering leads, trippy lights, and vocals that were reminiscent of a perfect mixture landing somewhere between Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain, Sleepy Sun was able to deliver a swell, or maybe even a wall, of intense, spot-on sound. It was blatantly obvious to anyone listening that this was not their first rodeo — recently releasing their fourth album, the San Francisco-native band got their start in 2005 and have toured with bands like the Arctic Monkeys and The Black Angels.

The band kicked the night off with a thunderous “New Age,” which was delightfully drum heavy. One thing that sets most bands apart for me, and is something that Sleepy Sun did, was seamlessly go from one song to the next — none of this quick, start-and-stop routine that you see so much of today. The band wove from one song to the next, hair flailing, guitar waving bad-assery that was largely present in 90’s bands.

One song that really stood out to me was “Open Eyes,” one that I had heard before but translated incredibly well live (really, all of their songs did — but this one comes immediately to mind). A creepy tune that was psychedelic, emotional and came with a generous portion of vibrato and reverb, it really set the mood for the rest of the night for me. They really are a band that no matter what size the crowd, whether that’s 50 or 500 people, plays with the heart and soul of one playing for a sold out,50,000 person arena. These folks were just born to be rock stars, and I’m excited to continue watch them grow and release new material. Sleepy Sun can truly be placed into the psychedelic category, without trying too hard or faking anything — it really is some “drop some acid and get weird” type of stuff, which is just the way it should be.

The entire band’s sound was dialed in to a tee, with the guitarist playing a creamy white Stratocaster, and having several sit in’s from other local musicians like Isaiah Mitchell during Maui Tears, among others. I highly recommend checking this band out if you get a chance. You can pre-order their latest album, Maui Tears, here, and can also check out their upcoming shows on their website as well.

Photo credit: Chloe Aftel