Sleepy Sun delivers vintage tube amp bliss at Schubas Tavern

For all those “rockists” out there, these last few years must have been glorious.

The dubstep craze seems to have opened a rift in the lithosphere and created an even deeper divide between the ravers and the rockers, with acts like The Black Keys, Tame Impala, Alabama Shakes and others like them dominating college radio and festival lineups. Not to imply that any of these bands, including Sleepy Sun of San Francisco, deserve to be lumped into any sort of stereotype, or be worshiped as saviors of guitar music or anything. Like those others, they’ve been around since before Skrillex was even in a punk band, and that was a long time ago. The truth is, the sort of vintage tube amp bliss that Sleepy Sun delivers will never get old, no matter what is in style. They played to a sizable (for a Monday night crowd) at Schubas Tavern March 10.

For all the mid-quarter century nostalgia they evoke, they have a knack for putting a fresh spin on things. On record their sound is fuzzy yet precise, exacting in its dredge of lush tones from a reverb and phaser soak. Lead guitar Evan Reiss recreates this on stage with a formidable array of pedals, layering one ruthless lick onto another on the fly. Vocalist Bret Constantino has his own bag of tricks, including a distinct poise both in his voice and presence, and plenty of cathedral-sized reverb. Add in a solid rhythm section comprised of drums, bass and another guitar, and you get the full spectrum of “wow,” surprisingly contained within the confines of Schubas. Sleepy Sun could just as easily have filled out an arena with their sound.

In their set, Sleepy Sun covered a variety of material from their rather extensive discography, mostly focusing on their latest release, “Maui Tears.” The new tracks showcase their depth as a group, going from funky to soulful and back again. Every guitar purist owes it to themselves to check out their full catalogue to get a sense for what they have to offer, and keep an eye out for more of the same solid tunes.