Wintersleep Citadel High School, Halifax NS, July 8

Wintersleep Citadel High School, Halifax NS, July 8
Photo: Richard Lann
Wintersleep closed out the inaugural day of the inaugural Gridlock Festival, drawing a hefty crowd despite the chilly Maritime weather and giving the people a good, old-fashioned rock show.
The group made a dramatic entrance, letting an increasingly lively orchestral instrumental fill the tent before the band members themselves emerged onstage and launched into "Santa Fe."
The crowd was clapping along seconds in, and uproarious applause followed for the start and end of each ensuing track, especially oldies like "Drunk on Aluminum," "Archaeologists" and "Dead Letter & the Infinite Yes." "Weighty Ghost" also proved a stomp-along classic, though new cuts like "Freak Out" and most especially the euphoric, anthemic "Amerika" were welcomed with open arms and more clapping hands.
The band sounded tight, but there's nothing particularly innovative about their polished pop-rock sound — and the longer, proggier instrumental tangents they fell into a handful of times felt more exhausting than experimental.
Wintersleep obviously have a dedicated legion of appreciators, though, and the band seemed genuinely happy to be back home, so it was hard not to smile taking in the triumphant homecoming scene, especially when they were almost instantly coaxed back out to close out the night with an encore of "Miasmal Smoke and the Yellow Bellied Freaks."