LIVE REVIEW: Sleepwave in Kansas City, Missouri (8/5/14)

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There’s a lot of anticipation and anxiety that goes into seeing a band for the first time. Usually, you feel awkward, for not knowing what to expect, not knowing the words to even the band’s singles, or simply because you haven’t heard of them. There can also be excitement and hope. Hope that the experience will transform all those neutral vibes to ones that force laughter and applause and words like “Wow,” out of your mouth.

Arriving at Sleepwave (rock band, fronted by Spencer Chamberlain from Underoath fame) was very similar. Now, having seen Underoath almost a dozen times, I had some expectations. But let’s forget about those, because I quickly did.

As the light from streetlamps outside shined through the door, and the the five-piece band walked in, they huddled to the side of the stage. No prayers. Just excitement. Pure adrenaline.

The Riot Room venue isn’t big, and it wasn’t full. But there were enough people to cause excitement in the band. A keyboard track leads the band up to the stage. Spencer immediately grabs a water bottle, drains about half of it on his head and spits it out. Without any further wait, he yells into the mic, “Kansas City, how the hell are ya?”

The intensity comes alive in the whole room, band and crowd. Sleepwave is an ironic name, as there’s no chance of REM during a single track this band ever plays.

Remnants of Underoath appear to seemingly be alive, but it’s a misconception because of the vocalist. Spencer is singing. The yelling or screaming, is there, but few and far between. But his passion is all there. In fact, probably even more so. His interactions with the crowd were fun, nerdy and timely. At one point he reached out both hands to every direction of the crowd, as if he were going into Super Saiyan mode. Yes, I made a Dragonball Z reference. As far as the music goes, it’s all very hard, but not endless riffs over and over again with no direction. These were formulated songs with sing-along (or yell-along) choruses.

Two songs in (which I later found out to be called “The Wolf”), you could hear Chamberlain throughout the chorus yelling “We’ll never be the same.” It’s clear that this music is all of him, but a new him; that he has put every ounce of his existence into these tracks and that he had everything to lose and gain at the same time. The man has gained it all back.

Guitarist Stephan Bowman was just as intense as Spencer, with his foot on the monitor the whole time, he was tearing through tracks left and right. He’s a very talented musician. It was clear that the rest of the band had been through the ringer when it came to being selected. The drummer might have hit the drums harder than Aaron Gillespie ever did, as the kid broke sticks left and right. He was very skilled.

Every song that the band played was from the record, Broken Compass, which was about 9-10 tracks. The band closed with their single, “Through the Looking Glass.” And from personal experience and feelings towards this track, I can tell you that it is the most streamlined rock track on the record. If you were afraid of it being too radio-friendly, just wait until you hear the rest of the songs.

Once the band was finished, the room was filled with positive vibes, as I heard other attendees raving about how crazy the performance and experience was, and that some even thought they were better than Underoath. No lie.

As a huge fan of Underoath, after their disbanding (which was not surprising by any means), I can be happy as it has spurred new life, at least for Spencer Chamberlain. This tour is one to get excited about. It might be the last time you get to see Spencer in a room with a capacity of 300 people. So get to it.

The rest of the tour dates can be found here, as well as access to sales.

Check back early next week for a exclusive interview with Spencer Chamberlain.

Corey From

Corey From, from Kansas City, MO, when not thinking about or listening to music, obsessively thinks about Royals baseball, a platter of ribs (or BBQ in general) and cold beer. Nothing special really.
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