Wintersleep Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON, June 15

Wintersleep Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON, June 15
Photo: Matthew Ritchie
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The boys in Wintersleep have come a long way since their early years as an avant-garde side project for East Coast songwriter Paul Murphy. After more than a decade together and with five albums under their belt, the band have visibly morphed over the years from post-rock scenesters to radio-ready arena rockers that sound like Canada's answer to Pearl Jam (which I actually kind of mean as a compliment). Taking the stage to a heavily psychedelic light show, the five-piece outfit started things off with Hello Hum single "In Came the Flood" before delving into a set that drew primarily from their most recent LP and 2007's Welcome to the Night Sky. Classic cuts like "Archaeologists," "Resuscitate," and "Oblivion" all got the live treatment, while slow burning sing-along standards like "Weighty Ghost" also made appearances. Surprisingly, barely any cuts from 2010's New Inheritors showed up, but being that the LP was by-and-large their weakest to date, that's probably a good thing. However, once the band returned for an encore, listeners who've followed the group since their beginning were treated to energetic renditions of "Orca" and psychedelic hard rocker "Danse Macabre," fully showcasing the progression Murphy's voice has made over the years from inaudible hum to confident crooner. Although it may not have technically been the "coolest" of NXNE's headlining shows, Wintersleep delivered one of the most underrated performances of the entire festival, proving once again this is a group not to sleep on.