Santa Cruz’s brightest export, Sleepy Sun, is master of its own orbit
They shuffle in from who knows where, likely not from around here, arriving at a poorly-lit warehouse in the blighted neighborhood of West Oakland known as “Ghost Town.” Feathers and beads adorn their heads, earthen-toned overalls, Baja hoodies, and organic cotton dresses their bodies. As the sickly red light fades away and the fog machine hisses into action, it becomes apparent that they are not the only ones here: light from a digital projector is reflected from the lip piercings of a metalhead who towers near the front, a group of athletic-looking frat-row types jostle for position in the crowd, even a lone tattooed bicycle punk can be sighted, leaning against the filthy concrete walls. Suddenly, the thunderous, tom-heavy drum opener to Sleepy Sun’s “New Age” tears through the fog-heavy room, punctuated by bass, and there is a sense of certainty as to why all have gathered here. Singer Bret Constantino (perhaps the most outlandishly clad of all) steps up to the microphone and breathes rhythmically; the groove locks in, and markers of identity, concepts of place, and the rest of life’s trivialities become meaningless.