Live Reviews

Sleep live at The Forum, London

The Forum, London July 6th


There’s heavy and then there’s none more HEAVY. Tonight is a chest-beating display of heavy as bravado. Heavy as punishment. Volume so loud and intense you can feel your skull rattle and vibrate and your guts clench to withstand the impact. So good it hurts.

Liverpool doom merchants Conan get things off to a suitably oppressive start. They describe themselves as being as ‘heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth’, a fact that is hard to dispute when faced with the sonic sludge oozing from the stage. All you can do is submit and nod. Their job is done and the stage and crowd are perfectly in the zone to greet tonight’s headliners, Californian stoned doom legends Sleep.

Described as ‘the ultimate stoner rock band’, Sleep’s legendary status is well deserved. Having originally disbanded in ’95 when London Records, their major label paymasters at the time, refused to release their now legendary hour-long-one-song-drone workout ‘Dopesmoker’, their reputation continued to grow in their absence as guitarist Matt Pike concentrated on High On Fire. However, when the band reformed in 2009 to play an ATP Festival, they stepped effortlessly back into their towering doom boots as if no time had passed at all and tonight, the noise that they make is utterly earth shattering. Opening with two tracks from their legendary ‘Holy Mountain’ album – ‘Draugonaut’ and the title track, Pike, shirtless and wild, unleashes wave after wave of power in-front of a massive wall of amps, obviously enjoying every second of the colossal noise being created. The sound is incredible. Normally a heavy band’s sound can suffer in a venue this size, often reduced to a dull thud but not tonight, Sleep have more than enough power and amplification behind them to destroy.

Playing the first twenty minutes of their epic ‘Dopemoker’ track, the air fills with the pungent stench of weed as the crowd take their cue to fire up their pipes and spliffs and a few hundred stoners get deep within the zone as Sleep continue to pulverise and groove.

An epic gig. We’re lucky to have them back. Long may they continue to abuse our hearing.

James Sherry

Live Reviews

Rick Ross – Live

Forum, London

Rick Ross has achieved near-God like status of late in the US, named as The Source’s Man of the Year 2010 and gathering together his Maybach Music label with the signings of Wale, Pill and Meek Mill. His return to London’s Forum saw a packed venue drenched in sweat welcome him with open arms, chanting his name before the big man had even appeared on stage. When he did, gun fingers shot up in adoration, howls of support echoed all around and the party had well and truly started.

Ricky Rozay has many, many hits and whilst his set wasn’t the longest [something those who had paid £35 complained about] it was certainly one of the most entertaining rap shows I’ve witnessed in a long time. Without a hype man on stage with him, it could have been hard between tracks, but he was ably supported by his DJ who stood behind the decks on a pedestal that bore the legend “Rick Ross / The Boss / Maybach Music / Kiss The Ring Tour” and made sure the crowd’s response to his calls were nothing short of deafening.

Running through his bangers Hustlin’, B.M.F. and MC Hammer whilst bellowing out his guest spots on Meek Mill’s Tupac Back and Lil Wayne’s John, he allowed the crowd to be as much a part of the proceedings as he was, nodding his head at the choruses being chanted back at him, wiggling his ample frame to the beat and generally exuding an aura of total control and enjoyment. He even made sure the locals [who had been told to rep their hood] were looked after by bringing out Estelle for a track, though her mic hardly allowed her voice to flourish.

By the time the show was over and the steam was rising from the crowd, there was little doubt that the man who threw his shirt off for the final track, showing off his huge belly much to the surprisingly large delight of the women in the crowd is exactly what he refers to himself as: THE BAWSE.