Old Fire Station, Bournemouth


Any music fan who is familiar with 1990’s band names such as Mansun, Gene, Echobelly, Space, Lush, Marion, Elastica, Dodgy and The Bluetones will almost certainly remember Sleeper. The band had eight top 40 singles along with three top ten albums, along with a track featured on the “Trainspotting” Soundtrack. The band sadly split in 1998 and last year got back together for a few live shows, these proved very popular and 2018 sees the band undertaking a full UK tour including a sold-out date at the prestigious Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Tonight the band for the first time arrive in Bournemouth and the place is completely packed with a crowd full of expectation, looking forward to hearing those infectious tunes once again.

Tonight’s openers are stylish Glaswegians Lucia who arrive on the stage full of youthful angst, with plenty of carefree spirit. Opening with “Cheap Talk” all eyes are on lead vocalist Lucia (Fontaine) who has a striking look about her with her blue hair and Vivienne Westwood style outfit. The band have a hazed effect guitar sound with a solid varied rhythm, coupled with Lucia’s soft atmospheric vocals.

The pick of the tracks come from their debut “Best Boy” EP including “When I Think of You” and the infectious, uplifting “Saturday is Dead”. Lucia continue to impress with the final tune “Melted Ice Cream” which has a very Pixies vibe about it with its hard-hitting lyrics “Why do you hate me? You are supposed to be by best friend”. The Bournemouth crowd appreciate all the band have to deliver and give them plenty of positive support as they leave, after an auspicious 40 minutes on stage.

Lucia 1234

Finally just after 9:30pm the theme from American TV Show “Cheers” signals the arrival of Sleeper on to the stage and the crowd erupts with a massive warm welcome. Much of them have waited over 20 years for this gig and there is lots of celebration as the band launch into the opening number “Bedhead”. The iconic and still youthful looking Britpop vocalist Louise Wener cannot stop smiling as she rolls back the years, bringing back floods of memories with tunes like “What Do I Do Now”, “Statuesque” and “Nice Guy Eddie”. The crowd seem to know every word and joyfully sing along with Louise in perfect unison. Things step up a notch when their brilliant cover of Blondie’s “Atomic” really gets everyone moving.

Sleeper 12345

The band feature three of the original members including Andy Maclure on drums and guitarist Jon Stewart, who has a striking resemblance to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. They are further bolstered by an additional keyboard player and guitarist who takes over from Louise on various numbers to give her a little more freedom around the stage. You cannot fault tonight’s performance, they sound every bit as good as they did back in the 1990’s and have created a huge buzz wherever they have gone. The night ends on a high with an uplifting version of possibly the bands best-known tune “Sale of The Century”, with once again the word perfect crowd singing along. The band have a Summer full of festival appearances and long may this popular reunion continue.

Set List
What Do I Do Now?
Lie Detector
Dress Like Your Mother
Nice Guy Eddie
Atomic (Blondie cover)
Feeling Peaky/Satellite of Love (Lou Reed cover)

Alice in Vain
Factor 41
Sale of the Century

Cheap Talk
Lose My Mind
Best Boy
A Little Pick Me Up
When I Think Of You
What Am I
Saturday Is Dead
Melted Ice Cream


Tickets kindly provided by Ross A. Ferrone
Words & Pictures by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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