There’s a really great band in Dayton (yes, it’s true) called Sleepybird. They are hard to categorize, and it’s best to see them live. Here are some things you should know about them:
1) The band includes rock staples like guitar, keyboards, and drums, but also trombone, upright base, and one of the coolest and most magical instruments I have ever encountered, a theramin.
2) While a lot of their songs ruminate upon the sinister, twisted, leftover crumbs of love, there is something (maybe in the music itself) that buoys, so despite the sometimes-cynical lyrics, you can feel the lift, the optimism in the song.
3) The Wigglebird turns up at a lot of their shows. You can sometimes catch plays and videos featuring the Wigglebird, including their collaboration with Zoot Theatre, “The Flight of the Wigglebird.”
A disclaimer: Nick Tertel, front man and songwriter, is a friend of mine. My husband and I first saw Sleepybird play at a mutual friend’s new year’s party. In the living room. There were kids running around, and maybe a dozen adults there to listen, and almost as many people in the band. They started playing, and the sound spun out in tendrils, rich and buttery, so different from anything I had heard before. Later on, we stood around outside by a fire, embers flying in the wind, strangely balmy for the change of the year in Ohio. We talked to Nick and his wife, Donna, and they were nice and cool and soon we were becoming friends.
That night, as 2006 opened into 2007, was a transformation of sorts, helping me step onto a path that I wasn’t sure I would go down. I could not know then that Merida would be born in December of that new year.
Another great moment of watching Sleepybird and Wigglebird…at the Cannery on March 2, 2007.
One thing I love about Sleepybird is how they bloom from within the world of art, interconnected, connecting, so that music and theatre and puppetry and paintings mush over into each other, and soon, the room is ringed with origami cranes, flying down toward you, letting you know that it’s all or all about to be beautiful, and strange, and for me, it warms the inner parts of the human who is watching, and listening.