Photo: Nina Milnes
On the fourth night of Sleeper Agent’s tour supporting Ben Kweller, the Kentucky sextet came out with fists flying. Hot on the heels of their national television debut, courtesy of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the band brought enough energy to make an impression on the crowd gathered at Irving Plaza. Having released their first record ‘Celabrasion’ to critical acclaim last September, the group’s kept up their buzz, drawing in hordes of fans as they’ve toured the US. Last night was the night they showed New York what they’re all about.
The band kicked off their set with “Love Blood,” followed by hook-heavy “Force a Smile” and “Bottomed Out.” Leading lady Alex Kandel tore through each song, accompanied by the blistering guitar riffs of vocalist/guitarist Tony Smith and the manic drumming of Justin Wilson. Smith and Kandel seriously know how to work the crowd — they’d often share the microphone and playfully push each other around, setting the tone for what they’re out there to do: have fun and play music.
The show pummeled on with “Proper Taste,” “Shuga Cane,” and “Get It Daddy,” showcasing the band’s knack for cranking out pop-fueled garage rock that’s strewn with killer melodies. The group slowed it down for “That’s My Baby,” followed by the hauntingly grungy tune “Some White Blinds,” where Kandel absolutely killed it with her powerhouse vocals. “Lovely eyes / They hide / Deep inside me” resounded throughout the room and sent chills down my spine. Their latest single “Get Burned” was up next, followed by the colossal “Far and Wide.”
The set ended with the incessantly fun “Be My Monster,” whereby Kandel and Smith made their way into the crowd. This seemed to be New York’s first real taste of Sleeper Agent, but I’m confident the band earned themselves a new batch of fans. On stage and off, they’re six friends who clearly love what they do together, and that’s part of the band’s ingenuity. With chops like theirs, it won’t be long until they hit up New York again — next time headlining their own show.
Force a Smile
Get It Daddy
That’s My Baby
Some White Blinds
Far and Wide
Be My Monster