What happened when Sleep Token headlined Wembley Arena

After industrial noise-botherers HEALTH open proceedings, Sleep Token’s wall of sound canons around the OVO Arena Wembley as opener Chokehold springs to life. Bombastic anthem Hypnosis and the brutal Vore come as the catharsis-loaded follow-up, exemplary of the masterful mix of emotions we’ve become accustomed to from such a flawless live band.

But, seven songs into the set, things take an extraordinary turn.

As the band walk offstage, silence falls over Wembley. Nearly two minutes later, frontman Vessel emerges with a member of Sleep Token’s crew, who breaks the unexpected news to the gathered worshippers. “So, Vessel can’t sing. But you guys can, so you guys need to sing with us. We’re doing the set, he’s staying on stage… but he’s not well.”

Vessel embraces his technician. Perhaps for the first time tonight, we remember that underneath the mask, there is a human being. Shell-shock turns to rapturous applause around the cavernous arena, as the faithful show their unconditional support for Vessel, and his courage to confront such a harsh truth, with the stakes so high.