Sleeper at Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Not your usual post today – but I thought I’d post a few pics from my visit to that London on Saturday – to relive my early 20s, when Britpop ruled the music world.

So yeah, I went to see Sleeper. I saw them three times back in the day – first supporting Blur at Sheffield Octagon in 1994 (still one of the finest gigs I’ve ever seen) and then at Derby Wherehouse (now called Mosh) and T in the Park the following year.

Then they split up and nothing happened for the best part of two decades – until they reformed for the Star Shaped festivals earlier this year. So I got to see them at Digbeth Institute, Birmingham.

And then they played their first London headline gig in 19 years at the Empire (sorry, but I refuse to call it the frickin’ O2!) on Saturday.

I love the venue – I saw My Life Story there a few years ago – and it was awesome to be back. It was built in 1903 and still has all that beautiful plasterwork from back then. It was later used as a TV theatre by the Beeb – and you can still see the “Transmitting/Rehearsal” lights and clocks at either side of the stage.

The gig was brilliant. I got to see support act Silver Sun, who I’d never seen back in the day. Unlike Sleeper, they never split up – they’ve been going all this time. They were utterly brilliant, reminding me of ELO with their harmonies, and belting out all the old hits. Lava is one of the best songs by anyone ever – and it’s made for a cool earworm since the gig.

Sleeper were also fantastic, and I managed to work my way to the second row for most of the set. Again, they played all the old hits – no new stuff (I don’t think they’ve recorded any) and it was a far longer set than in Birmingham.

Shout out to Louise Wener, who over the past two decades repeated again and again that she hated what had happened with Britpop and that she would never reform the band. I’m so happy that she changed her mind and that the fans can hear those tunes live once again.

She looks as beautiful as ever and she had a beaming smile from start to finish – something I love to see at a gig. It’s a bit sad when your frontman/woman looks miserable and just goes through the motions. Her voice sounds really good, too – super-strong.

The gig finished with two massive confetti cannons going off, and I even managed to grab a setlist from the stage. It was just a wonderful night – there’s also a Brewdog across the road, where I had some stunning beers.

I shall leave you with the pics – and if anyone wants to buy a Super Her T-shirt, as modelled by Louise, they’re a snip at just £54 here!

 

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