Sleep will headline at both Desertfest London and Berlin 2017. Ain’t their first time at the rodeo, but let’s face it: anytime Sleep do anything it’s news, and all the more so because usually what they’re doing is stuff like headlining Desertfests. It was only a week ago that the London incarnation of the multi-city festival brand announced it was bringing reformed desert rockers Slo Burn over for a headline slot, and before them, Turbonegro had been unveiled with the first lineup announcement in October, so that’s three headliners unveiled for a three-night festival before the New Year has even hit. I wouldn’t fret. No doubt Desertfest London 2017 still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
Meanwhile, in Berlin, I believe Sleep count for the first headliner announcement. The prior two lineup updates from Desertfest Berlin 2017 (posted here and here) included the likes of Mars Red Sky, Samsara Blues Experiment, Lowrider, Ecstatic Vision, The Cosmic Dead, Tuber, The Well and Satan’s Satyrs. As the two festivals have worked hard to each establish their own personality over the last several years, I’ll be interested to see who shows up in the top spots for Berlin from here on out. Maybe they go local?
I’m also still holding out hope for a new Sleep album sometime in, you know, ever. Guitarist Matt Pike said this year the plan was to record early 2017. At this point it will have been three years since they released their single The Clarity (review here), and eight since they started playing reunion shows, so they’re nothing if not due, but my inclination is to keep my fingers crossed Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and drummer Jason Roeder can make it happen while also believing it when I see it. Cautious optimism. I wouldn’t mind a new Om record from Cisneros either, while we’re at it. Roeder, who this fall put out the fantastic Fires Within Fires (review here) with main outfit Neurosis, is off the hook for the time being.
Sorry, got sidetracked. Awesome news for Desertfesters in London and Berlin, in whose number I continue to daydream of counting myself.
The PR wire has it:
SLEEP TO REIGN AT THE ROUNDHOUSE AS THEY HEADLINE DESERTFEST LONDON 2017!
After conquering Koko, Sleep are back; this time to reign at the Roundhouse. That’s right, not only did we bag seminal doom legends Sleep to headline the sixth Desertfest, we’ll also be descending on the iconic Roundhouse for the whole of the Sunday.
Forming in 1990 on the bones of previous band Asbestosdeth, Sleep carved out an almost mythological name for themselves in their original stint of less than a decade. The first three-piece lineup of Al Cisneros, Matt Pike and Chris Hakius recorded two of doom’s most revered albums in Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker (or Jerusalem for the purists), with the latter not even seeing release until the years in which Sleep slept.
As Cisneros and Pike found other outlets for their heaviness through Om and High on Fire, a resurging stoner and doom scene declared Sleep as a monolithic pillar of the scene, due mostly to their downtuned, distorted riffs but also their uncompromising love for a certain plant. The time was perfect for a Sleep reunion. In 2009, after over a decade in slumber, Sleep awoke for Cisneros, Pike and Hakius to play two final sets together. Whilst Hakius decided to retire from music after the shows, the rest of the band decided Sleep weren’t quite ready to be put to bed. Recruiting Jason Roeder of Neurosis, Sleep continued to sporadically play shows, before teasing us with The Clarity; a fantastic single ten-minute track which proved that Sleep still had it and we wanted more of it.
We Desertfesters got some of it in 2015, when Sleep closed out Desertfest with an unforgettable set at the Koko. The moment the curtain raised with the first few strains of Dopesmoker hitting is a moment etched into the memory of an entire building full of Weedians. A blisteringly loud green cloud of sound, a pure mad wall of riffs and a room full of grinning, sweaty, hairy doom pilgrims. It’s one of the unquestionable highlights of our first five years of Desertfest; so we’ve invited them back.
But if it’s worth doing again, it’s worth doing bigger and better. That’s why this year, Sleep will be headlining the much larger Roundhouse. The famous London venue, just a short walk from Desertfest’s other stages, boasts an increased capacity, meaning nobody should miss their chance to space out to ‘Dragonaut’. Like the Koko in previous years, the Roundhouse will host bands throughout the Sunday; and to welcome the venue into the Desertfest family, we have huge plans, so keep your eyes peeled.
So drop out of life and ride the dragon to Desertfest 2017 when Sleep blow the roof off the Roundhouse.
SLEEP to headline DESERTFEST BERLIN
It is a very exciting day for us! We are finally ready to unveil our first headliner for next year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN, and what a name this is…! You guys have been asking for them for many years, it is the most common request we receive via mail or Facebook… and we finally managed to bring them to Berlin next year…: Californian stoner doom legends SLEEP!!!
Formed in 1990, the extravaganza outfit SLEEP is one of the most widely-respected and influential acts in the stoner/doom metal universe, best known for “Dopesmoker”, the unfuckwithable 63-minute album/song that acts as one of the greatest tribute to weed that metal has produced. They haven’t really done much since then as original band’s members split off into prolific acts such as Om and High On Fire. And so in 2009 when they were reborn with Al Cisneros, Matt Pike and the estimable Jason Roeder (Neurosis), SLEEP’s popularity grew tremendously.
After “sporadically writing riffs for a while” SLEEP returned with a new song (their first official release in over a decade) for the Adult Swim singles series. “The Clarity” is nearly 10 minutes of mystical, slow-riffing awesomeness. Back then, asked about the possibility of a new studio album, the band refused to offer specific details. But recently, upon Southern Lord’s announcement of the impending re-release of “The Clarity” on vinyl (scheduled for February 2017), Matt Pike said publicly that SLEEP will record a new album next year as well!
SLEEP did what it had done and what it had left to do. Largely and without pause, make music in tune with The Ages. Best to be enjoyed? Live and living. See, hear, feel, do it. Well, beyond just music and well into the experiential joy of pure being. SLEEP.
Also confirmed for our 2017 edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN: SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, THE COSMIC DEAD, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, TSCHAIKA 21/16.
There are still 20 more acts to be unveiled, including 2 other headliners, so stay tuned! And do not miss your chance to be part of the amazing DESERTFEST BERLIN experience… Check out our Website to get your tickets, or the links below in this release! We were sold out last year in February, so better be quick!
Let’s turn all together the DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 into another milestone when it comes to Berlin and festivals!