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Sleepy Sun radiates rockin' psychedelia at Holocene

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Sleepy Sun live at Holocene, Portland OR

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Winding up a 36-date North American tour, Sleepy Sun played Holocene March 25 on their next to last stop before heading home to Santa Cruz, Californina. The band played a sonic electric set that featured a hand full of new tunes from their 2014 release, Maui Tears.

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Frontman Bret Constantino acknowledged the band was feeling the affects of the long road trip, referring more to their appearances, but certainly had no affect on their performance. And it didn’t prevent Sleepy Sun from filling the Holocene with their trademark distorted fuzzed guitars on the firsts song of the night, Marina, played to full effect by guitarists Matt Holliman and Evan Reiss, and anchored by the solid rhythm foundation of Jack Allen on bass and Brian Tice on drums.

Next followed the lead track of their new album, The Lane, sung with Costantino’s sonic swagger, a melody that careened from tempered to fiery vocals between verse and chorus. The band powered through two more from Fever, the bluesy shuffle of Open Eyes and the sledging aggression of Wild Machines, with its gloomy tale of another winter, fitting for a rainy evening in the Pacific Northwest.

Martyr’s Mantra and Yellow End were the only two tracks from 2012’s Spine Hits. The former leads with its catchy repetitive guitar line while Constantino sings about blaming and tempting fate, with the later, its early softness turned into a driving dual guitar jam and abrupt ending.

More from Maui Tears was 11:32, with bottom heavy distortion and cruising through the night, clocking the magical time where time either stands still or just slips away, inciting the levee to break and leaving others in its wake.

Inserted next was the lone track from Sleep Sun’s debut release, Sleepy Son. In between songs Constantino mindfully lit two hurricane candles that adorned the front of the stage before his featured howling harmonica intro along with swirling wah-wha guitars and dozingly-slow drum beat, accompanied by lazy lyrics leading to the sudden alarm of a hard blues crunch.

Winding down to the final two songs of the evening, both from Maui Tears, Sleepy Sun launched into the pop-tinged psychedelic rock effort, Galaxy Punk, and the ultimate space voyage --- the seductive, dreamy Maui Tears, with its feel-good melody that soothingly washed over the crowd like a slow moving low tide at sunset.

The hour long set was played with a smoldering subtlety. And even with the leaded heaviness of the Sleepy Sun's tone, the sound was surprisingly crisp and clear. Not something you’d expect from the distorted power psychedelia but something you can rely on as you are storming down the road.

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