The perfect stacks of Marshall amplifiers rose from the House of Blues stage, with nothing but three lone mic stands teetering in front of the monitors as the crowd began to fill in and take their places below. Sleigh Bells were in town for the night, a long overdue stop in New Orleans, especially after last years gig just down the road at Baton Rouge’s Varsity Theatre was such a success. The lights dimmed as their fantastic choice of house music, Notorious B.I.G. and Ole Dirty Bastard were cranked up to the crowd’s delight, and just as the party began to come alive, Sleigh Bells took their places in front of their massive wall of sound. Alexis in her trademark grunge casual and Derek in (what else) but a customized Saints jersey (turns out both of his parents are from the city, and he is a lifelong Saints & LSU fan – good eye bruh!). Without a second breath, they lit up the House of Blues with ‘Demons‘, an explosive anthem of power chords, electronic hand claps and absolutely painted the faces of the crowd in high intensity strobes. The Sleigh Bells experience is total auditory and visual overload, and it’s as intense as it is enjoyable to watch.
The roughly hour long set was a collection of cuts off of their two albums, and they weaved a nice flow out of this material, alternating between punishingly loud electronic dance rock and more ambient psychedelia. They have added a second touring guitarist for the tour, who not only helps with the live harmonies but also adds a nice symmetry to the stage, letting the audience’s eyes follow Alexis around stage with her addictive stage presence. The whole spectacle is like some sort of booze and stimulant fueled pep rally, with a top of the line light rig and a crowd so tuned in that by the end of it, it’s impossible to find a still body in the house.
The show ended on a high note, with the Funkadelic instrumental backed anthem ‘Rill Rill‘ and the pulsing ‘Riot Rhythm‘ off their 2010 debut, Treats. It’s funny, because Sleigh Bells is just that, a treat to see. You can’t help but feel lucky that there was a spark in that Brooklyn diner back in 2009, and that these two were able to make this whole thing happen. In my opinion, it’s a testament to good old fashioned hard work, and the fact that the good lord loves rock & roll.
Rock on Sleigh Bells, rock on.
The House of Blues, New Orleans LA
I: 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
E: Never Say Die, Riot Rhythm, A/B Machines
Sleigh Bells – Riot Rhythm