Show Review: Wintersleep At The Drake Hotel

 By Gwen Reid & Anna Trikas

Having never really listened to Wintersleep, their show at the Drake Hotel turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Promoting their upcoming album, The Great Detachment, out on March 14, the band played all of their newest tracks. The performance wasn’t muddied with theatrics, but focused instead on the technicalities of the music.

Rather than a typical concert, the event turned out to be for industry people only, in order to showcase the band’s new album. Entrance only granted to those on the guest list, we found ourselves intimidated as we descended the stairs into the basement of the Drake where we bought fancy drinks and pretended to fit in. Dimly lit, the loungey atmosphere was a perfect fit for the laid back audience. As only industry people were present, we weren’t subjected to our usual concert experience – being too short to see anything, and being elbowed in the crowd. The intimacy of the Drake was a perfect fit for this sort of show.

Matching the mood of the crowd, Wintersleep gave an excellent, relaxed performance. Harmonized vocals combined with a folky rock sound epitomized the tone of their new album. Lead guitarist Tim D’eon’s enthusiasm and apparent skill provided for a solid execution of the songs. His passion was certainly mirrored by the other members as well – particularly concerning those who controlled rhythm and beats. The communication and coordination between drummer Loel Campbell and bassist Mike Bigelow resulted in accuracy that laid the foundation for the music. The band took advantage of instrument swaps in order to play on their strengths, tailoring each song to sound its best. Formed back in 2001, their 15 years of experience was evident in their execution.

Wintersleep’s Halifax roots were apparent in the band’s ability to harmonize on vocals to support the soft, confident, and soulful melodies of lead singer Paul Murphy, with four of the five members using microphones as well as their other instruments. The tight and intricate guitar added a really nice rock element confounded by the solid rhythm section. Songs like “Who Are You”, showcased these engaging vocals, while others pushed to more heavy rock. Overall, Wintersleep’s performance was an impressive presentation of the muted but energetic upcoming album.

An interesting experience of exclusivity and intimacy, the show put on by Wintersleep engaged and dazzled the audience with the band’s endearing, mellow sound. Not only are we hyped for their new album to be released, but plan to listen to more of what this Halifax band has to offer. We suggest you keep your ears open as well.

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