Getting closer I think, 'This cunt's huge, not like fat, but like CONAN HUGE!'. Plus it looks like he's eating an apple, an' not giving a single fuck to the mutants around him, (this part of Glasgow attracts a special kind of inbred types).
“MAAAAAAATTTTT!” He turns round, looks at my fat moustached face, ready to fucking have a go at me. Seriously, he was ready for fighting. I go, whispering cos am oota breath, “Maaaatt, Sleep, gawn to see yer band... can I get a picture?” He then turns into the coolest cunt I have ever met.
“Do you know how to get into the venue?” I look at him puzzled as he's practically standing outside it. “Ahhh forget about it, do you know what time it is?” I then show him the clock on my phone and he's waiting for me to tell him. I go “Erm.....how do I tell the fucking time again? ...Hawf seven Matt!” So then Matt poses wae me, an my cameras acting funny. But I got the pic and said my goodbyes and good lucks to the big Cimmerian beautiful cunt. I love Matt Pike.
“FOLLOW THE SMOKE TOWARD THE RIFF-FILLED LAND”
So we aw head to the stage, but due to the smoking ban there’s no smoke. I move in a bit deep, to get a better view. There’s noise, getting louder. Behind the stage is a big screen. There’s something going on. Fuckin Pike's on stage making a noise wae his Les Paul. Is he laying out the opening riff to 'Dopesmoker'? My wully gets hard. DUNG DUNG DUUUNG.... DUUUUUUUNG DUNG DUNG. Aw jesus christ, this is it. I am going to get flung about like a wet tracky here. I ain’t gonna be able to shit right for a month. My fanny's gonna be like a ripped out fire place after this gig. Al Cisneros appears ; Rickenbacker armed, bass adding to the RIFF. 'Dopesmoker' is in full effect when Jason Roeder starts giving the drums an absolute doing. It's driven by those drums, and I worry that the live version might not have that impact, but by god, this cunt can certainly play the drums. I headbang for the whole two hours, and it's his fault.
“I BELIEVE THE SIGNS OF THE REPTILE MASTER”
'Holy Mountain'. This is so fucking sexual. I do my pint as quick as I can. Stuff my t-shirt in my pocket and give the air in front of me the head butts it deserves. Right now I reckon I've never been happier at a gig. Around me though, I notice something. There seems to be an awful lot of, (how should I say it?)...hipsters. Oh, that’s right. Sleep's the 'hipsters metal band'. It really fuckin disgusts me. Metal wasnae hip in the fucking 80s! You Smiths-loving CUNTS! Imagine these fuds at a Motorhead concert back in the day or a MANOWAR one? So anyway, 'Holy Mountain', absolutely off the fuckin scale magnificent. I'm shocked at how good this stuff is live and how bloody LOUD it is. Don't cry, Darkwülf, I think to myself.
“RIDE THE DRAGON TOWARD THE CRIMSON EYE, FLAP THE WINGS UNDER MARS RED SKY”
If you don't know the opening bass riff to Dragonaut, fuck off. It comes in, the whole stage like a Ralph Bakshi animated masterpiece, like something from the 'Heavy Metal' movie. I headbutt fuck some more, I want my fucking head to come off. On stage Pike looks like a warrior, covered in tattoos. I think looking at him and Al, these cunts look like they are from Skyrim an this song probably inspired the actual game. I jizz round about now, four times.
“FAR WITHIN OAKEN TOWER, EXISTS THE ONE WITH EVIL POWER”
'Sonic Titan' hits, out-Sabbathing Sabbath with its brilliant doomageddon intro. This classic provides more grinding weedian greenstortion, slabs of Pike's guitar attack coming right at us, the bass making love to our behinds, Al's thunderous voice on form and the drums demanding we all be beheaded.
'The Druid' starts up almost exactly like slower 'Supernaut', but it's not, it's THE DRUID. Behind the band the screen no longer depicts space, it's Stonehenge. Cool graphics. Then something big happens. My baws cannot take it.
We see now the ice caps. In epic scope. Godfrey Reggio style. No longer do we have a Ralph Bakshi animated “Fire & Ice” style theme but something very haunting and real. The music comes, Al's vox, a deep guttural roar. This is Sleep's unrecorded song. Something closer to Dopesmoker than any other tune they have. 'Antarticans Thawed' is slow, heavy as fuck and humungous in sound. Round about now I feel my ears go. Fuck them. If I go deaf it was worth it. If SLEEP do go back in the studio, there is a very real possibility they will make music as good as, if not better than their previous work going on this incredible chronicle. Pike's solo at the end is legendary. Prime shagging music.
“REACHING FOR THE SUN, LEAVE ATLANTIS, ESCAPE THE SEA”
After the slower-than-slow vibe of 'Antarticans Thawed', its a kind of relief to hear the well-known classic tones of 'The Aquarian', some Lovecraftian homage to smoking the leaf. I need a beer. Or a smoke. I'm getting even closer to the stage, barely realising I'm hammering my head up and down like a pissed woodpecker.
"STONER CARAVAN FROM DEEP SPACE ARRIVES”
It's been two hours nearly, the band must be knackered. I am. Pike hits out some signs that this is the final act, this is the end. 'From Beyond' hits us and after it the end of 'Dopesmoker'. In the middle of the amp-strewn stage, a drummer who has not stopped assaulting the kit with serial killer precision for two hours. To the sides, a bass warlock and a riff warrior from the pages of Robert E Howard's Conan books. All are covered in sweat.
Somewhere along the way tonight, Al made everyone send good vibes to Iommi (who is undergoing cancer treatment), without whom this night would simply not have happened. I suggest you do that too, just wish Iommi gets better. For he truly is the lord of darkness and creator of the finest sound/genre around.
I believe that 'From Beyond' contains Sleeps best and funniest lyrics. What ain’t funny is the complete and utter pounding the band give the ear drums. They just seem to be getting louder as the night goes on. People keep leaving. Poor hipsters. After some slow noodling and what was possibly a breather for the band, they must just think FUCK IT and go at it. Pike unleashes one more lead, it's that one, the one from 'Dopesmoker', the greatest lead in history. The one that pumps your mum. The band finish with how they started, that riff. DUNN DUNNN DUNN DUUUUN DUUUUUNNNNN ... The stoner caravan has unloaded its cargo at Jerusalem, or more accurately Glasgow. They now head to new worlds to supply the ultimate weed to other deserved followers.
If you're a hipster cunt just wanting to see them so you can tell your pals you were there, but never watched the band much because you were taking pics of you and yer hairdresser pals for the majority of it, stay away. If you like LOUD, HEAVY, SLOW music, go see SLEEP. If you are young, start a band up with your pals, copy Sleep. For they are the greatest American band of all time.
Picture and video by Bruce Cowie, and available to use with his kind permission.
Posted: Sun 27 May 2012