Team Sleep wakes up the Colonial

Not one to rest on his laurels, Deftones frontman Chino Moreno recently completed a West Coast tour with his side project, Team Sleep. The band’s pre-Christmas show at the newly renovated Colonial Theatre in Oak Park featured a delightful set of original material that was new to most everyone there. This night, the last show of the tour, afforded the band considerable room to stretch out on a number of drowsy, slumbering melodies, some of which may find their way onto Team Sleep’s debut sometime in the spring, on the Deftones’ major-label distributed imprint.

The in crowd was in full effect as members of such crucial Northern California bands as onelinedrawing, Will Haven, ent and Pocket for Corduroy were in attendance. From the opening band—a reunited Phallucy featuring Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham with two former bandmates, bassist Sonny Mayugba and guitarist Dave Garcia, both now in Daycare—it was apparent we were in for a welcome return to the early ’90s.

Even with its methodical, dense soundscapes, Team Sleep created a trenchant backdrop that was easily discernible and alarmingly audible. For nu-metal fans, some of the material was hard to digest, and those expecting a mosh pit or stage-diving soundtrack were in for a real shocker. Team Sleep stuck to its sound throughout the set sans a few, relatively minor tempo changes.

After only a handful of live shows—the first appearances ever by guitarist Todd Wilkinson—Team Sleep appeared comfortable and confident, nestling themselves safely within the confines of the Colonial Theater. Zach Hill, drummer for Hella and onetime drummer for Crime in Choir, aided by the solid anchor of Tinfed bassist Rick Vetterli, was able to foment the audience into a relative stupor. Hill’s uptempo beats, mated to the brooding rhythms of guitarists Moreno and Wilkinson, made for an interesting melange of sounds bordering on ambient. DJ Crook, who had worked with the ’Tones, further contributed to the unbounded wall of noise.

“King Diamond” (named after the Danish satan-metal band Mercyful Fate’s frontman), “Koolade,” “Solid Gold” and “Natalie Portman” were just a few of the band’s confusing song titles, which had very little to do with their content. The material was reminiscent of Deftones’ more introspective moments and hinted further at Moreno’s fixation with electronic, downtempo and indie art rock. Moreno and company rocked, or perhaps lulled, the capacity crowd, disintegrating notions that the project was merely a hastily thrown-together offshoot.

Although Deftones may be Moreno’s first love, his fervor for Team Sleep could not be ignored. Without sounding contrived or ill conceived, he and his bandmates did the unimaginable: created another Sacramento-bred major-label heavyweight. His first public outing with Team Sleep was triumphant, and offered him yet another creative outlet. Come April, the rest of the nation should awaken from their slumber.Scene & heard was reported by .