LIVE: Sleep Token @ The Underworld, Camden

By Adam Rosario

Gigs have become one of the most important facets for a band’s career progression. A consistent and great live show can put some bands over the top and really capture the attention of the right people, opening up more opportunities. Sleep Token are a band who have crafted a live show that defies belief, a captivating performance that demands the attention of everyone, believer in their world or not.

Sleep Token have created their own universe with their band; paying tribute to the God ‘Sleep’, they’re led by the nameless Vessel and perform ‘rituals’ to show dedication to their God. The show starts almost half an hour before the band take to the stage, with the house lights in the Underworld dimming every so often, though not noticeably at first. As 9pm approaches, the atmosphere hits fever pitch and the room cascades into darkness. 

Exploding into ‘The Night Does Not Belong To God’ it becomes obvious that the people on stage are extremely talented. With a piano led intro giving way to Vessel’s soft vocals, with additional backing vocals from three cloaked figures at the back of the stage before the instrumentals finally hit half way through the chorus, this is a band who are on a mission. ‘The Offering’ follows, showing off a more technical, heavier side to the band, with a big reverb synth and a creepy keyboard line to match, the bass really kicking through the crowd. When Vessel screams ‘Take A Bite’ towards the end, the crowd responds with the first mosh pit of the night. Sleep Token having two songs of this high of a standard at this stage of their career is ludicrous, and sets the tone for the night.

The R’n’B influenced ‘Dark Signs’ slows the set down, but allows the crowd to get involved with singing the lyrics back at the band. When ‘Jaws’ is unleashed, the biggest reaction of the night greets it. With its percussion intro leading into Vessel’s cries for a loved one, before an incredible drum section beckons the call of the guitars and a siren like synth blast, timed with a strobe light, the band seem truly otherworldly. Vessel is the clear star of the band, his vocals sounding pitch perfect, and it’s hard to believe that anyone can sing like he can. His charisma is undeniable as well – for a front man who has no interaction with the crowd beyond a few arm movements, he holds the attention of the room in the palm of his hand.

Through the 75 minute set, they play the majority of their back catalogue, with only a few songs missed. Having played a lot of their more recent material early on, they switch gears and air older songs like ‘Thread The Needle’ which lulls the crowd into a false sense of security with Vessel singing alone on his keyboard before the band come crashing in, creating an intense soundscape. ‘Drag Me Under’ and a monstrous ‘Nazareth’ provide highlights, showing that this is a band capable of many different types of music, melding them together seamlessly. This is also a band who can make seven minute songs so captivating that you forget it’s even the same song. The way they can manipulate the quiet into the loud is masterful, proving that whilst young in their career, Sleep Token are already becoming leaders in their genre. 

Finishing the night on a chilled out cover of OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya’ is possibly the most surprising moment of the night. The crowd seem bemused as the house lights come up after Vessel leaves the stage, but as with everything with this band, they couldn’t leave the night on any other note but mysterious. Sleep Token are a band who worship the God ‘Sleep’, and pay homage to him by performing one of the best live shows in the UK today. Their next round of ‘rituals’ are in bigger rooms, and this is a band who deserve the audience to fill them. 



Click here for the full gallery from this show.