Sleepy Kitty (NYC), No One Sphere (DC), Forgetter (DC), The Runaway, Washington DC
January 15, 2023 02:20AM
Sleepy Kitty (NYC), No One Sphere (DC), Forgetter (DC)
The Runaway, Washington DC, January 14, 2023

I try to make an effort to see small bands and such, especially when they happen to be two blocks from my house, and my wife is out of town.

The Runaway is a bar a short walk from my house, which was opened by the owners of Slash Run, a now-beloved garage rock bar. It's named after the Joan Jet/Lita Ford/Cheri Currie/etc. band and does an admirable job sticking with the bit, down to the names of the burgers. And I've been there before but not seen any bands, mostly due to scheduling and other constraints, along with the typical obscurity of the bands booked there.

This ended up being a very odd vibe for a three-band set; jam-influenced indie with No One Sphere, Parallel Lines-era shoegazy power-pop with Sleepy Kitty, and then Forgetter, which was all somnolent keyboard drones very much out of the "Everything in Its Right Place" Radiohead lineage, but without the guitars or Thom Yorke's songs. Strange energy.

I have a friend-of-friends who is in No One Sphere, and their reputation was mostly for shoegaze... but I think André is basically an unrepentant Deadhead and is clearly trying to turn the band into a jam band. I was there for fifteen minutes of their set, and I think it was just a single song they were jamming on. He said afterward that the songwriter from No One Sphere, Dave Mann, tries to do solo stuff under the same name, and their Bandcamp stuff is kind of all over the place, from "Local experimental shoegaze for pop set" as described, to straight covers of Lemonheads and Coldplay. So it's a puzzling overall band.

Sleepy Kitty, reportedly, includes the drummer from Harvey Danger. This is not particularly important, because no one has thought anything about "Flagpole Sitta" in decades. But Sleepy Kitty does feature a charismatic lead singer and guitarist, Paige Brubeck, and they've actually been around for 12 years, building something of a reputation among bigger names on the East Coast. There is an immediate appeal of some of their music for fans of 90s female alternative rock. "Bigger Picture" is a catchy and bratty power pop/grunge number that could have been on WHFS in the mid-1990s amidst Veruca Salt and Everclear. Brubeck has an engaging presence (and a sartorial aesthetic strongly derived from Parallel Lines-era Blondie). She is not a great singer and has a pleasing but thin coo/wail that she then swaps out for some very post-grunge yelling. Anyway, Sleepy Kitty is not a great band, and the band's drumming is neither memorable nor distinctive, but there were moments where I could see their potential, even though this has not been a fashionable subgenre for some time— although it's coming back — see Alvvays or Best Coast or the Beths or whatever.

Forgetter just didn't fit at all. It was notably odd when a gawky bearded lad in a strange hat stepped up with a keyboard on the tiny stage and awkwardly asked if the crowd was having a good time. He then asked if we were ready to dance and have fun, or if (in so many words) we were planning to be sad and sleepy. And that's basically what Forgetter is; some of their keyboard melancholic pop songs are fully orchestrated and have drama and heft, but in concert it was just the lonely, sleepy bits.

So: Strange energy for a nearby garage rock bar! But why should show reviews only be for the bands you've already heard of?

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2023 05:41PM by zwirnm.
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I saw Sleepy Kitty in 2016 (opening for Ezra Furman in Durham NC). I enjoyed their set well enough to buy a cd at the merch table.
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Re: Sleepy Kitty (NYC), No One Sphere (DC), Forgetter (DC), The Runaway, Washington DC
January 15, 2023 09:41PM
Yes, Ezra Furman has publicly supported Sleepy Kitty in the past, and yes, the "fur" jokes write themselves.
Re: Sleepy Kitty (NYC), No One Sphere (DC), Forgetter (DC), The Runaway, Washington DC
January 15, 2023 07:49PM
If I’m the only one who thinks it’s funny that an artist called sleeping kitty opened for an artist called Ezra FURman… well, you folks will just never get my nutjob sense of humor!

(All artists mentioned are unknown to me, btw….needs investigation).

Nice write-up zwirnm!
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Re: Sleepy Kitty (NYC), No One Sphere (DC), Forgetter (DC), The Runaway, Washington DC
February 18, 2023 03:26PM
Followup: Someone shared this with the members of No One Sphere, and my commentary apparently helped break up the band — not in a bad way, according to my acquaintance André. It just confirmed their sensibility that the band's live show with members including André was significantly different from the solo work of Dave Mann, so it didn't make sense for the solo work and the band live shows to be presented under the same name. So they agreed amicably not to continue performing as a band.
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