Live review: Sleeping Gun at The Sebright Arms (23 September’16)
On a murky London eve, these grunge influenced upstarts demonstrated why they’re drumming up a real interest in their music
London’s Sebright Arms, known for its great-sound-no-matter-where-you-stand stage and floor, sets the scene for a rollicking performance from young trio-de-force alternative rockers, Sleeping Gun. Since the release of their first video Benzedrine, Sleeping Gun have built quite a following. Everyone seems to know the words, which makes a good start to the gig as they blast out first song Sacred Sun. Grunge influenced drop-tuned riffs are punctuated with a huge bass sound and the bass player performs a tap dance routine on the effects pedals. A doubled-up guitar and bass play a two-note open string drone, leaving room for lyrics delivered as statements: “my judgement day will come” and “my little world, my sacred sun.”
The next few songs have a tripped-out stoner-rock feel; imagine a stripped-down but tightened up Kyuss – from the days of Blues For The Red Sun – and somewhere along the line there’s a nod to the more recent Death From Above 1979. When you’ve just got your head-nod in sync with the rest of the crowd, Sleeping Gun shift the heaviness up a few gears into a pint-spilling and get-your-body-knocked-all-over ferociousness. So this must be a punk gig then…
Singer and guitarist Dan Gb is humble when he speaks between songs, like he’s been asked to play a few tunes to entertain you at your party. But this is not your party, it’s theirs, and they let you know pretty quickly with the opening riff to Skin Cells and a croon of its first line: “Come a little bit closer, baby,” inviting you to do just that.
The band jams a disjointed and angular blues with the guitarist and bassist facing off each other in front of the kit. The drummer keeps an intricate, funky groove, exploring a new dimension to the trio and alluding to something else that they can do. Then, like it had never happened, he plays a battering drum part accompanied by a satisfyingly conclusive riff, that confirms the Soundgarden influence to their fuzz-soaked sound.
“This is our last one” Dan says, as he invites everyone up on stage to sing new single Benzedrine. A forceful drum beat and driving one-bar riff is slightly reminiscent of Motörhead’s Orgasmatron. “I don’t owe you a single thing… and never will” spits Dan to the throng, who, keen to scream it over the PA, spin the mic round and it crashes into the face of bass player, Ji. He doesn’t care, and spins it right back at them before pounding on the bass in front of the smiling drummer, Joe. He laughs. For anyone wondering what the trio’s gloopy delay, Moog and fuzztone chug-chug-chug is all about, it’s the energy captured in this moment.
It’s a short gig in total. The jams and the head-banging combined with the vertically plucked bass, Fu-Manchu guitar tuning and punch-you-in-the-face drums make for a great combination. It’s a hard road to find your sound as a trio, but Sleeping Gun have certainly made some ground finding it so soon.
Words: Jonny McCourt
Pictures: Bill Tasker and Brian Mac Mackean