Britpop legends Sleeper celebrate the release of their new album The Modern Age at the Riverside in Newcastle.

Sleeper are back in the North East of England following the band’s sold out show at the O2 Academy Newcastle last year. Even with a slightly larger room this time around, tonight’s Tyneside venue is still packed to the proverbial rafters.

Since Sleeper’s last visit to the region, they have been in the studio working on their first new studio album since 1997. To add to the spectacle of tonight’s proceedings, today actually marks the landmark release date of the band’s eagerly anticipated long player, which is aptly titled The Modern Age.

As Sleeper hits the stage, they belt their way through a pair of classics in the shape of hit single “Nice Guy Eddie” and the sultry “Delicious”. This, in turn, forms an impressive start to the show.

Even though Sleeper’s new record has only been available for a matter of hours, the group’s Geordie fan base has already been studying the band’s freshest cuts today, and seem to be quite familiar with the new material. By the third song in the set, the group introduce the first new track to feature in the set in the shape of “Paradise Waiting” and it certainly hits the spot.

During the course of Sleeper’s 1 hour and 15 minute set, they don’t go too heavy on the new material, with only a small smattering of tracks from The Modern Age featuring. Sleeper’s intoxicating and somewhat tropically tinged single “Sun Also Rises” is one of the many highlights. Jon Stewart’s guitar licks during the latter being of particular note. Likewise, Louise Wener is in fine voice this evening.

The pounding rhythm and catchy hooks of “The Modern Age” make it easy to understand why it was chosen as the title track. The chorus is a real earworm and will simply stay with you for days. The beauty of Sleeper’s new material is that it sits so perfectly in the band’s setlist alongside their tried and tested hits and classics.

The current incarnation of Sleeper still features three of its original members including lead vocalist Louise Wener, guitarist Jon Stewart, and drummer Andy McClure. Just looking at the stage this evening, you can immediately see how much the band are enjoying playing their new material, they are beaming throughout.

Of course, the likes of “What Do I Do Now”, “Statuesque” and the band’s disco-infused take on Blondie’s “Atomic” elevates the crowd to Britpop heaven. The group even manages to seamlessly segue a few bars of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” into the latter to great effect.

Sleeper closes out their main set with Indie anthem “Inbetweener”, during which a mass singalong ensues. A three-song encore featuring the first single to be released from the band’s latest offering “Look At You Now” and a euphoric airing of “Sale Of The Century” brings the show full circle.

On the strength of the new material featured in tonight’s show, it’s fair to say that it may have taken 21 years for a new Sleeper album but it was certainly worth the wait. Tonight the group proves that they are so much more than just a Britpop outfit, they have truly got something to offer in The Modern Age.

Sleeper
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Event Date: 22-Mar-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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