Sleigh Bells singer Alexis Krauss addressed the sold out crowd at the unexpectedly intimate show at the West Village’s (le) poisson rouge, “This is a really especially meaningful show for us because this is where we played our very first show back in 2009, even though we were really awful.” This noise pop duo that Alexis started several years back with guitarist Derek Miller has its roots right here in the Big Apple, as they found their footing in the pre-smug hipster Williamsburg, Brooklyn back when it was still edgy and cool. Since then, they’ve certainly proven their commercial appeal despite the industrial and hard rock tendencies of their high-volume version of pop-rock. Now that the band is amping up once more for the release of their fourth full-length album Jessica Rabbit due out on November 11th, they decided to revisit their more humble beginnings with some smaller venue sets including here where it all began.
L.A. artist Miya Folick opened the show, which seemed especially fitting as she got her start here after coming to this coast to attend NYU. She was indeed a delight to behold, as she brought quite a lot of performance art to some extremely impressive material. Bathed in spiral light projections illuminating the entire stage, she personified a certain artsy Grace Jones/Laurie Anderson image for the audience, with a taste of early PJ Harvey grit and growl for good comfort. Now I can certainly see why she gets so much critical praise as she’s clearly going to burn herself into our brains one way or another.
I’ve always found Sleigh Bells to have a more L.A. appeal than that of a typical NYC act. I even mistook them for a West Coast outfit when I first saw them at the CMJ Music Fest several years back. With all the heavy electronics set to a pop-appeasing hard rock sound while adorned in heavy tattoos and leather, you may have easily made the same mistaken assumption seeing them for the first time. Still, considering Derek Miller was playing guitar in a hardcore band while Alexis Krauss was singing in a teen-pop group back before they got together in 2009, their hard-yet-catchy combination does make some sense. This time out they were definitely more stripped down than they’ve been in quite some time, with Alexis’ ever-charming melodies amped up by just two dueling guitarists and electronics beats that replaced the drummer they usually have for big stadium shows. Regardless, Alexis took full control of the smaller stage in front of their towering amps, as she whipped her impressive locks around like a dragon soaring through a hurricane. She was especially fond of embracing the fans, even jumping into the packed horde a few times and doing a bit of crowd surfing towards the end.
The energy of the show was volcanic as they played songs from all across their career from “Crown on the Ground” from their first EP to big hits like “Infinity Guitars,” “Riot Rhythm,” and “Comeback Kid,” as well as cool new cuts like “Rule Number One” and “Hyper Dark.” Their heartfelt embrace and the breakneck energy all three produced throughout the show made for one hell of a night.
Article: Dean Keim