Toronto – Picture if you will … a viking. Ready to conquer, to pillage … always in search of a new challenge, a new adventure … but there’s one problem. This viking is sleepy. This is the perfect metaphor for North By Northeast. The sleep deprived, brain addled music fan stumbles from venue to venue, searching for that next big fix, the next great band, all while fighting the fact that they’ve been up ’til 4:00 the previous night. We are all sleepy vikings my friends.
Sleepy Vikings are a Tampa based band who play a hazy, jangly, shoegazy brand of music that can go from gently strummed tunes to a full on aural assault. Their myspace page describes them as indie/southern rock/shoegaze and I guess that works as well as anything. Actually, the southern rock tag might work better than I thought. As I listen to their songs after the fact, I realized that Julian Conner’s vocals on “Dear Long Distance” remind me a bit of fellow Floridian Tom Petty. I don’t quite recall if they played that song though. They definitely did play “Flashlight Tag,” a somewhat haunting tune which highlighted singer/keyboardist/occasional snaredrum player Tessa McKenna’s lovely voice. The band closed off the set with a pretty good cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind.”
I spoke briefly with one of the guitarists after their set as I noticed she was wearing a t-shirt that said “Peterbilt Tampa.” “Is that a trucking t-shirt?’ I asked. She replied that her uncle (and I think maybe some other family members) was a trucker. I told her that I could hear the truck influence in their music. She laughed but I’m sure she wondered what the hell I was talking about. So did I for that matter.