Tuesday, April 17th 2012
Shows: Sleigh Bells
Back in February, Sleigh Bells released their highly anticipated sophomore LP Reign of Terror. We hype checked it in our review, summing it up by calling the band “the latest blogger-craze infection, a hypercolor shot of hit-or-miss synthetics with a soul that’s difficult to pinpoint.”
That spark? Soul… whatever you want to call it — the something extra that we were looking for? Well, Sleigh Bells saves it for their live show. Shortly after hitting Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom last night, the band redeemed itself, giving the material room to breathe while providing one of the most energetic shows currently out there.
Kicking off with Demons from the new record, vocalist and self-hype woman Alexis Krauss made the stage her bitch. Running around, screaming and egging on the crowd – Alexis has the stage persona of a rocker who’s been at the game a long time.
Backed by guitarist Derek Miller and secondary touring guitarist Jason Boyer and several stacks of massive Marshall amps, Alexis & co. played an incredibly solid hour long set, running through just about every track you could want to hear from either of their records.
As the squealing, almost siren-like opening riff to Crown on the Ground wound up the audience, Alexis made her way to the front of the crowd. Appearing almost cat-like as she walked along the barrier, Alexis carefully chose her prey – fans that could sing every word — and held the mic out for them to take their brief moment in the spotlight. She did this several times throughout the evening, and more than once she hopped on top of them to crowd surf a bit while still belting out the lyrics.
Comeback Kid was a definite highlight, allowing Alexis’ voice to comfortably slide into her higher range as a barrage of strobe lights illuminated a few girls in Sleigh Bells jerseys floating on the arms of those in the crowd.
The brutal, punchy assault of Infinity Guitars led directly into the much softer Rill Rill. The piano/acoustic-guitar driven track is definitely different from most tracks in Sleigh Bells’ repertoire, but Alexis seemed to connect with this song more than any of the others as she dedicated the song to all of the younger girls in the audience.
After just 45 minutes the band was off the stage, soon to appear once again for a quick three-song encore. A/B Machines closed the show as Alexis took one final dive into the crowd. Surrounded by fans, the end of the song was lit not only by the band’s impressive stage, but by hundreds of tiny illuminated cell phone screens trying to capture a piece of the magic.
It’s hard to explain but the Sleigh Bells live show is truly different from how they are presented on record. It doesn’t sound monumentally different, but something about the energy Alexis presents and the way the crowd reacts creates some sort of super symbiotic relationship… a marriage of clownfish and anemone on crack.
It’s just something you’ll have to see to believe.
Setlist: Demons, Crown on the Ground, True Shred Guitar, Kids, End of the Line, Born to Lose, Comeback Kid, Straight A’s, Leader of the Pack, Tell Em’, Treats, Infinity Guitars, Rill Rill
Encore: Never Say Die, Riot Rhythm, A/B Machines