Who: A stoner-rock deity known for its slow, heavy and extended music, its weed-steeped lyrics and its blissfully altered audiences. Demonic bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and untiring guitarist Matt Pike have been together since the Bay Area band’s 1990 formation, and after an 11-year break, Sleep began its second life in 2009, with drummer Jason Roeder—also of experimental-metal outfit Neurosis—completing the trio’s current lineup.
Hear: Under almost any circumstances, recommending a 64-minute song to a newcomer would be absurd. But Sleep’s defining piece—“Dopesmoker,” recorded in 1996 and released in several versions since—best approximates the live experience, evolving constantly while hypnotically staying in a singular headspace (opening line: “Drop out of life, with bong in hand”). If you like “Dopesmoker,” you like Sleep. If not, well, Brooklyn Bowl probably isn’t the place for you on May 27.
Recently: In 2018, more than 20 years after creating its previous full-length album, Sleep released The Sciences. Two of its six tracks date back to the “Dopesmoker” sessions and the others are relatively new, yet it forms a surprisingly cohesive—and undeniably powerful—whole. And live? “There’s so much openness to these new songs,” Cisneros told Billboard last year. “We can go into new territories with them.” Also, The Sciences contains the immortal lyric, “The pterodactyl flies again.”
Separately: Pike doubles as the singer and lead guitarist for sludge-metal trio High on Fire, which released its eighth album last year. Cisernos leads psych/drone trio Om, which continues to actively tour. And Roeder has manned the kit for Neurosis since its formation in 1985.
Previously: An elusive live act at points in its career, Sleep has become a more frequent stage presence of late and has actually performed twice locally in recent years: at the Psycho Las Vegas festival in 2016 and 2017. Both sets featured a chunk of “Dopesmoker,” songs from 1992 LP Holy Mountain and post-hiatus material. Monday will mark the band’s first time headlining its own show in Las Vegas, however.
SLEEP with Big Business. May 27, 7 p.m., $30-$45. Brooklyn Bowl, 702-862-2695.