Don't Sleep on Sleep Atlantic

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The Spectrum

Thirty kids drift into Mohawk Place on a brisk November night. Handguns, a prominent up and coming pop punk band, concludes its small east coast tour with Forever Came Calling supporting their split EP. The crowd was unresponsive and mild mannered during their sets.

Instead of the crowd emptying out after Handguns, the audience started inching closer to the stage. While Handguns headlined the tour, the show in Buffalo saw native Sleep Atlantic finish the night off.

"I think they put us on headlining because we probably bring more people in and they wanted them there for Handguns," said guitarist Mike LoGrasso. "But it was definitely exciting knowing that they wanted us to play after them, to support them."

As the local act strummed the first chord of their set, the crowd became electrified. But almost as quickly as the crowd's disposition changed, it became apparent what caused the mood swing.

Every member of Sleep Atlantic was exactly where they wanted to be; on stage performing the music they made with their best friends for a handful of people. The band's joy and passion radiated throughout the venue as the crowd took notice of the band's simple pleasure of performing and increased their intensity.

Sleep Atlantic's charisma is almost as infectious as the music they produce. Their Four Year Strong-esque styling has the listener showing off their dance moves while throwing some elbows during the breakdowns.

The band is not only clearly influenced by Four Year Strong, but also other current pop punk heavy weights The Wonder Years and A Day to Remember. Combining aspects from each of these bands, Sleep Atlantic produces music that is as brutal as it is playful.

The band's lyrics talk about the simple things in life: good times and good company. Friendship is what this quintet is all about, and that comes through loud and clear in its music.

In the song "Thunderfist Down Under Fist," the line "If we spend all our cash in bars/Then I guess we will just f****** starve" perfectly describes the band's mantra.

"We really believe in giving our music away because we would rather have people listening to it," LoGrasso said. "We don't make money off shows, I probably lose 40 bucks a show. Tickets aren't free, so when I buy someone a ticket it's because I want them there. We just want people there and we want people to listen to our music."

Alongside LoGrasso in Sleep Atlantic is main singer Sean Hayes, bassist Brad Gottorff, drummer Joe Bartolucci, and fellow guitarist Matt Slomowicz.

Sleep Atlantic has started to make quite the splash in the local pop punk scene. Their catchy riffs and sing-along lyrics stay lodged in their listeners' head long after the headphones have been taken off.

The Sleep Atlantic faithful is always a fun crowd to watch, dancing and screaming along with Hayes as if the band was a national act making an unexpected stop in Buffalo.

"We were in another band, it was like Trapt, that kind of music," LoGrasso said. "We all loved pop punk, but we just didn't play it so we were like f*** it, lets just do what we love."

Sleep Atlantic formed in summer 2010 from the ashes of the former band. Bartolucci knew Hayes from UB, and when Hayes saw that they were looking for a singer, Sleep Atlantic was conceived.

Since then, the band has recorded new material every couple of months, occasionally at Watchman Studios in Lockport with Doug White, who has recorded bands like Every Time I Die and Gym Class Heroes.

Their material is free for download on reverbnation, but the band puts in the legwork to get their material out to a wider audience.

"We have been to the past two Warped Tours, we haven't actually gone into the concert but we will walk around the parking lot handing out CDs and everything," Bartolucci said. "We do it at local shows around here too, but definitely the biggest response we got was from Warped Tour. Not that they come from all over the place for Warped Tour, but they come from places like Rochester and nearby areas like that."

This D.I.Y. work ethic has earned them a spot playing alongside bands like The Swellers, Fake Problems, and Rust Belt Lights.

Next month Sleep Atlantic will be playing the biggest show of their short career: Chris Conley, front man of pop punk gods Saves the Day, will be playing a show at Club Infinity.

Club Infinity is one of the largest venues in Buffalo, and with Conley headlining, there is a good chance of the show selling out, giving the band some much overdue exposure.

Recently, the band shot a video for their song "None of My Friends Listen to Marvin Gaye." Sleep Atlantic wanted to use this an opportunity to show its essence, so naturally the video captures them throwing a house party and playing a small house show for their closest friends.

"That's probably the most fun we have had with this band," LoGrasso said. "Basically, trying to describe our band as having fun and getting drunk with your friends."

While the band has only been around for just over a year, their sound is sure to grab the attention of labels. The band has an idea of what they want to do; they just want to make sure that all the loose ends are taken care of beforehand.

"We have a plan in general, but we have a lot of getting ready to do because you don't get a second chance when you are presenting yourself to a label," LoGrasso said.

The band cares more about supplying their fans with good tunes and good times at their show than anything else. This dedication to their fans will undoubtedly pay off for Sleep Atlantic in the future.

In a scene where bands are excommunicated and labeled "sell-outs" at a lightning pace, Sleep Atlantic has the attitude that will keep them in good standing with their fans.

"It makes all of our practices and struggling to sell tickets worth it, being there and seeing everyone have a good time makes us have a good time," Bartolucci said.

Sleep Atlantic is quietly making a name for themselves around the local music scene. It is just a matter of time till the national scene takes notice. Seize the opportunity to see Sleep Atlantic headline a local show before they start headlining national tours.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com