The Sleepy Jackson : Sydney Hopetoun Hotel
Blimey. Just when we thought all Antipodean bands were leather-loined nu-retro-rockers, along come Perth’s experimental geniuses The Sleepy Jackson to mess with our preconceptions. No dog-eared ACDC riffs here: they start their set with ‘Fill Me With Apples’ – less a song as a morose verse recited over a piano loop – before lurching into the violent spasms of ‘Cavities’. Already, drummer Malcolm Clark has splintered a stick and frontman and Benicio Del Toro-alike Luke Steele is practically convulsing, pummelling his guitar with such intensity that a hapless roadie only narrowly avoids having his head lopped off.
It’s not all homicidal bonkersville, though. Displaying a sense of exhilarating Jekyll And Hyde eccentricity that’ll soon make them galactically famous, The Sleepy Jackson also mine a neat seam of contagious sunshine pop. ‘Good Dancers’ is the mellifluous equivalent of chocolate ice-cream on a hot summer’s day, while the hugely infectious ‘This Day’ is part Flaming Lips and part Lennon and McCartney at their rollicking anthemic best. Nice.
Then it’s over, Luke blowing kisses and trying to auction off the drumkit before jubilantly bounding offstage, his guitar merrily blurting feedback from its discarded spot by the speakers. Be prepared to give your heart to The Sleepy Jackson, because they are going to be – guaranteed – one of the most important bands of 2003.