Welcome back to TEAM SLEEP Thursday.Seeing Team Sleep play live in the early 2000s still stands out as a highlight of those youthful concert going days. As a huge diehard fan of the Deftones, I was blown away by how mellow and stripped down Team Sleep sounded when I first picked up their debut cd from a small record store in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The experience as I popped the cd in my car stereo on that sunny day, surrounded by the peaks of the pioneer valley was surreal. Some would call it shoegazy and really indie sounding. I recall it as a dreamy conversation that I had to hear several times before it really could permeate my senses. After those first few listens, I found myself falling into a trance as I stared at the cd jacket image of a woman smoking on a bed in her best audrey hepburn outfit complete with pearls cropped in a gold leaf frame. I needed to see this band and know if I'd react to the band's live performance in the same way.
March 30th, 2005Fortunately the band soon posted a tour schedule and Hartford would be my destination of choice. I recall the weekend of that show being hectic for some reason. Instead of the easy drive from Springfield where my wife and I had just started renting an apartment, we decided to make a visit to my parents in Massachusetts earlier in the day. We ended up traveling diagonally across the entire state of Connecticut on our way to Hartford. We chased the sun through numerous trees and back roads til the grey skies of the city embraced us.
Webster Theater, HartfordAn old vw bug sat outside of the Webster that night and a bunch of hippies strolled out of it, one even holding their sweat stained pillow. The irony of a band named Team Sleep playing in front of a man holding a pillow was not lost on the bands front man. Chino reluctantly grasped the pillow as he signed it later on during the middle of their set.
Did the band's performance meet my expectations? Of course and a whole lot more. Many of the songs benefited from Chino's faster live vocalizations. A slight rapping cadence added power over the analog beats where the recordings sometimes followed a more repetitive path. The crowd was smaller and much more intimate than the previous Deftones show I had caught at the Worcester Palladium. Chino was reserved and locked into his own playing while the rest of Team Sleep seemed really excited about playing in front of a live crowd. It was a really nice experience as a fan to see the dichotomy of a veteran completely at home on stage along with the energy of musicians who were kinda new to a decent size audience. The band even set up a meet and greet with the crowd after the show for the small cost of purchasing the cd. Looking back I wish I had purchased another copy of the cd to have the experience of meeting the band. We left shortly after they set up shop at their merch tables in the hallway and I got a glimpse of the band from a distance as we headed into the blackness of the night. I found that I was a bit starstruck and less tranced out than I had expected of the experience. Little did I know, that night would be the only night I would get to see that collective as Chino soon rejoined the Deftones shortly after and incorporated a lot of TS sensibilities into their futurework. Hearing about a new Team Sleep record brings back a lot of memories and a lot of excitement about the future of both bands. Join me on a relisten of their debut cd and a cool live clip of an acoustic performance they did in 2005.