Brit pop legends Sleeper make a return to the road for their first full UK headline tour in over 20 years.

The news of a reunified Sleeper was met with much rejoicing from their loyal fan base. Subsequently, last year the band made a triumphant return to the stage as part of the Star Shaped Festival in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

The snowy weather conditions brought on by the Mini Beast of the East this weekend doesn’t stop the Geordie faithful from arriving at the O2 Academy Newcastle in their droves for Sleeper’s first show in the city since the late 90’s.

The anticipation is so high for this St Patrick’s Day concert that the date has long since been sold out. Those lucky enough to be in attendance reminisce about days gone by and Sleeper’s shows at the Newcastle University Students Union or the now sadly missed Newcastle Mayfair.

Without a new album since 1997, this evening’s show is very much a greatest hits set. Sleeper hit the stage with a triple whammy of indie classics that includes the frantic “Bedhead”, “Pyrotechnician” and a sultry rendition of “Delicious”. It’s immediately apparent from the off that the band sound just as good as they did in their heyday.

Throughout Sleeper’s approximately 90 minute set the capacity crowd at the O2 Academy Newcastle are walked down memory lane. The band’s captivating lead vocalist Louise Wener, who is grasping a diamante encrusted Fender Telecaster, leads the band through a multitude of crowd-pleasing anthems.

Tonight the Geordie choir sing wholeheartedly as Sleeper delivers back to back hits from their first two albums Smart and The It Girl respectively. Many of the band’s prominent numbers including “Statuesque”, “Nice Guy Eddie” and the anthemic “Inbetweener” all feature in the show.

Back in the 90’s, there was no social media; nowadays Sleeper regularly engages with their fans online. However, Louise Wener insists that the types of messages the band receives are mostly questions about what time the band go on, as these days their fans need to arrange for a babysitter.

There is somewhat of a beautiful atmosphere inside of the room all night long, as Sleeper and their fans come together to celebrate these treasured songs from the Britpop era. The band closes out their main set with “Feeling Peaky” which is segued into a few bars of Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” before exiting the stage to rapturous applause from the Newcastle audience.

Of course, twenty years on and we are all a bit older and wiser. As Sleeper returns to the stage for a duly deserved three-song encore Louise declares that back in the day such a break in the set would be used to participate in rock and roll indulgences but at present, it’s more likely because the band needs a bit of a rest.

Sleeper brings their nostalgic set to a close with the classic “Alice In Vain” and the anthemic “Sale of the Century” which comes complete with a huge singalong from the O2 Academy Newcastle audience.

After all of this time, it is truly a joy to see Sleeper back out on the road again. It may have taken the band in excess of twenty years to return to the North East of England but those in attendance this evening would agree that it was certainly worth the wait.

Sleeper
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Event Date: 17-Mar-2018

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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