Live: Sleigh Bells @ Academy 2
Sleigh Bells, a duo based in Brooklyn, NYC, draw a strikingly varied audience, the excitement very apparent in the younger and older members alike. After an annoyingly long build up, front-woman Alexis Krauss arrives on stage in a heavily studded leather jacket, instantly grabbing the attention of the eager crowd and kicking things off to a raucous start. The music is decidedly hard to categorise, the heavy riffs of the guitars all but obliterating the trippy vocals which, at times, leads to an uncomfortable mix of genres. Additionally, imperfect song transitions occasionally produce sounds which are wholly discordant.
Any musical uncertainties, however, begin to fade into irrelevance as Krauss’s all-encompassing stage presence takes precedence. She is incredibly lively, not stopping for a second and the energy onstage is matched unhesitatingly by the crowd. Krauss shouts regular encouragement to the audience, handing the microphone to them and soaking them with water. However it seems a few at the front become too enthusiastic as she instructs them to “keep it fucking happy” and to “knock it the fuck off”. As electro and hip-hop beats are added into the mix, the sheer ambition of the band becomes apparent and their originality of sound is commendable. The duo play the majority of their first album, Treats, the tracks ‘Infinity Guitars’ and ‘Kids’ being met with particular zeal.
Krauss crowd surfs, her vocals impressively not wavering as she is passed back and forth. An audience member joins her on stage, an occurrence that doesn’t faze the band and they dance together for a remarkable amount of time. The weakest point of the performance remains the often inaudible nature of Krauss’s singing while contrastingly, her screeching is occasionally almost deafening. This aside, the band does give the unwavering impression that there’s nothing in the world they’d rather be doing than performing for us, and this energy ensures an ultimately entertaining show.