The lights went down as Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller took the stage hardly visible in dark pants and a hoodie. The sound of church bells clanged and echoed throughout the venue before lead singer, Alexis Krauss, emphatically made her presence known. They opened with the new single off their debut album Treats (due out in May), “Tell ‘Em”, packed with screeching guitar riffs and thundering beats that mimic heavy artillery being launched, offset by soft vocals. “Beach Girls” followed with a hip-hop hook, while “Infinity Guitars” provided crunchy chords and nonsense lyric shouted almost angrily at the audience. This similar style continued with “A/B Machines”, comparable to a glitch hop club banger, complete with distorted drums, siren guitars, and a loudly exclaimed mantra: “Got my A machines on the table! Got my B machines in the drawer!” Alexis’ in-your-face performance failed to disappoint. While their music vibrated chest-deep, she seduced the crowd, daring all of us to look away, twirling and flailing around violently on stage. If the crowd wasn’t convinced at this point, she shocked them into submission as she about climbed on the speakers and let out shrill banshee-like shrieks over ripping guitar chords and an ever-present thumping. Their set concluded with the more popular, “Crown on the Ground”, recognizable by its epic loudness and its deliberate push to speaker-blowing audio extremes. The song helped solidify the duo’s performance and their unfaltering energy, bringing the crowd’s enthusiasm to a crescendo during this final number. Minor technical difficulties aside, the outlook for Sleigh Bells is more than promising and I think it’s safe to say we can expect great things from them.
Yeasayer’s performance was undeniably electrifying. The three core members, Chris Keating, Anand Wilder and Ira Wolf Tuton, appeared on stage in clashing wardrobes, with Wilder in what appeared to be a patterned robe, Keating in a classic preppy ensemble and Tuton in loose-fitting tank. Offbeat threads, however, couldn’t distract the audience from their hypnotic three-part harmony. Spacey synths and 80s pop drums, layered over added electronic chatter, flowed together seamlessly throughout the group’s falsetto-heavy songs. But it’s too difficult to simplify the band’s sound – a far cry from their fellow indie rockers. The bands repertoire included songs like “O.N.E.”, taking on a more jam band-y feel and “Strange Reunions”, utilizing global influences; to more lulling and almost misty numbers, “Love Me Girl” and “Madder Red”. Watching these principle members, standing atop illuminated platforms, contributing varying vocals and instrumentals to the band’s set wasn’t dissimilar to a Blue Man Group performance – delectable to both the eyes and ears. Fan favorite, “Ambling Alp” – an upbeat number complete with tween pop-like lyrics – proved to be a fitting wrap to their eclectic set. The performance could be described as colorful in every sense of the word, but most prominent overall was this dynamic group’s ability to flawlessly blend all of their sounds that emanated from the stage that night into what could only be recounted as a dreamy, emotive swell.
Review By: Alison Lato
Sleigh Bells – www.myspace.com/sleighbellsmusic