i was there: sleigh bells at the 930 club, 3.28.12

29 Mar

Not wearing earplugs last night was a supremely poor life decision.

Sleigh Bells. The loudest band around. The only one that can make bang your head, shake your groove thing,  pump your fist, and cover your ears in pain/pleasure, all in a 49-minute sprint of a show.

Tuesday was my third time seeing the Bells, but the first since they released their second album Reign of Terror. My expectations for a Sleigh Bells show are always incredibly high, but I always come away with the same conclusion: so damn good. Too damn short.

These whippity quick sets were easier to justify when the Bells had only released one album- they somehow toured for over two years on just 32 minutes of recorded material(!!!). Now with two albums under their belt, I expected more longevity during this tour. But, true to form, the Bells stormed the stage for 49 minutes that passed in a snap. However, given the bone-crushing energy that the New York duo pour into each and every song they perform, I can forgive it.

The biggest thing that struck me about the Bells’ performance on Tuesday is just how much they have, despite their best efforts to hide it, matured. Sure, bad ass frontwoman Alexis Krauss still howls like a werewolf at opportune moments. Also, for the first half of the show, I thought she was wearing sunglasses- nope, just layers upon layers of dark eye makeup. The basic formula of the Bells’ show remains the same: they thrash and scream and the audience moshes and it’s a big sweaty mess. But now, it feels a bit more professional.

Most importantly, the Sleigh Bells I saw on Tuesday convinced me that I actually like their new album. When I first listened, I was intrigued by the direction they took with their softer tunes like “Crush” and “Leader of the Pack.” But the album as a whole felt a little disjointed, and I wasn’t confident it would work live.

Fortunately, I was wrong. The Bells have fine-tuned their craft and know exactly how to weave the hard and fast with dance-y and soft and everything in between. They commanded that show like expert puppet masters who understood what each song would do to the audience. They brought us up and down and threw us all around, but the entire show felt perfectly balanced. They seamlessly wove all of their disparate sounds into a very cohesive show that displayed the best of everything Sleigh Bells does well.

Third time was a charm, but here’s hoping the fourth and fifth times are just as swell.

Sleigh Bells, from Reign of Terror

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