LIVE REVIEW: Sleep Token, Lafayette, London, 29/04/2022
Photo Credit: Andy Ford
With the mystery, magic and magnificence that has surrounded unknown entity Sleep Token ever since their disguised appearance around EP One, with a setting such as the notorious The Room Below at The Lafayette, a ritual experience synonymous with Sleep Token, this band are the perfect fit for such a grandiose, special and emotional occasion. A third time lucky, after getting rescheduled three times, The Room Below was well worth the wait, for a gig where the connection between Sleep Token’s masked mastermind Vessel and the crowd was hypnotically unbreakable.
Candles set the stage for a show the third time lucky and as the stage lights dim and the candle lights get brighter, an automated voice message comes over The Lafayette, drowning out the “We love you Vessel, we do” chants that ring around the room moments before. “I believe it is fair to say that we’ve both been waiting for this moment for a considerable period of time. We are here to silently collect. We are here to remember. We are here to forget, We are here to Worship” and as the disguised entity glides on, adorned in their atypical cloaks sporting the Sleep Token symbol, this night is set to be something special. You could just feel it in the air.
An emotional version of a couple of covers including OutKast’s Hey Ya! and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah commence proceedings. One on guitar, the other on piano, both covers serve as a beautifully pleasant surprise, the first contains some of Sleep Token’s heavy undercurrents that burst with energy, think The Offering from debut album Sundowning. The second however, bears the emotional weight of This Place Will Become Your Tomb, heavenly backing vocals and completely heart rendering, no dry eye was left in the house after Vessel’s reimagining of an absolute classic.
With the exception of second song Missing Limbs, much of the setlist saw Vessel alone back facing the crowd, mask off his vulnerability exposed in more ways than one. From Fall For Me, Levitate and Shelter providing some of the most sacred moments of the live acoustic performance to some of Sleep Token’s more crowd-pleasing numbers Alkaline, Sugar and Atlantic, a mixture of belting out lyrics and maintaining a mutual respect for the environment The Room Below brings was present throughout.
“I am nothing without this music. I am nothing without this mask” one last message says before Blood Sport rounds off The Room Below ritual, capturing the true essence of an emotional connection between an audience and someone who they don’t even know the identity of, but that’s what makes moments like this unbreakable and completely captivating.
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood