LIVE REVIEW: SLEIGH BELLS – The Mayan Theatre, Los Angeles 02/21/2012

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Review / Heather Seidler

Photographs / Jenny Rolapp

Fresh (and we mean mere hours fresh) off the release of their sophomore album Reign of Terror, Brooklyn-based duo Sleigh Bells played a sold-out, high-paced show at downtown L.A.’s Mayan Theatre, juggernauting their electro-rap-rock across the mosh pit and up the balcony walls. Within the first thirty seconds of their opener, the band whipped the crowd into a frenzy that actually redeemed a cliché like “whipped the crowd into a frenzy.” The pit rivaled that of a hardcore Swedish death metal band, with much fist pumping amongst the trendy mustached masses. Which only further encouraged singer Alexis Krauss to swan dive head-first into a few rounds of crowd surfings. Completing the Sleigh Bells line-up was guitarist-producer Derek Miller joined by additional guitarist Jason Boyer.

After their recent tour with M.I.A (Miller also produced tracks from M.I.A’s latest album) and their Saturday Night Live performance, Sleigh Bells are rapidly paving their way through the bizarre nexus where even if you don’t subscribe to their musical style, you can’t help but move to the beat of their drums, as evidenced by the ever-surging and diverse crowd. With their indie du jour recipe of arena rock colliding with big beat electronic music, they sound like they were borne from Igor’s laboratory during a fateful night of lightning storms.

Krauss’ onstage fortitude was ceaseless and the nerve-rattling (not-to-mention invisible) drum machine was yanked up to fatty fever pitch, blustering from a wall of Marshall amps at ear-splitting volume. Even perched high upon the balcony, I could feel the bass train-wrecking through my tenderized inner lobes, rendering any earplugs, well—useless. Which, don’t get me wrong, was a good thing. Though the singer’s breathy voice was sometimes drowned in the whomping bass-bits and the lyrics certainly weren’t there to move you to a higher place, the music alone got your adrenaline pumping to near critical levels. At only 50 minutes long (including the encore) the set was short but sweet and better than cheap speed and whisky at a roadside carnival.

Main set: True Shred Guitar / Born to Lose / Riot Rhythm / A/B Machines / Kids / End of the Line / Comeback Kid / Tell ‘Em / Leader of the Pack / Straight A’s / Treats / Infinity Guitars
Encore: Rill Rill / Demons / Crown on the Ground

Sidenote: Hey Morons, stop recording concerts on your crappy iPhone and start actually enjoying the concert. Why? The footage is almost guaranteed to be universally terrible. I recorded a song once on my crappy phone, and did I ever watch it again? I sure didn’t.

More photos go here.

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