Last Night: Sleigh Bells At Warehouse Live

sleigh bells april 18 1.JPG
Photos by Jody Perry
Sleigh Bells
Warehouse Live
April 18, 2012

Sleigh Bells has to be one of the most polarizing bands in recent memory.

To really get a bead on a band these days, you have to go to iTunes. So I looked up Sleigh Bells. "How did this get made?" wondered one reviewer about Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller's 2010 debut LP, Treats. "If the Terminator had a playlist it worked out to, this is it," offered another.

So somewhere between "Just Awful," "Raw Power" and the usual gripes about the new album, Treats, not being as good falls Sleigh Bells. And from what I saw Wednesday at Warehouse Live, that's about right on the money.

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Before Wednesday, I had managed to remain blissfully unaware of the Brooklyn duo until seeing them on Saturday Night Live in February. They did not change my life, but I think I can understand the appeal.

For one thing, it was a reminder that if someone has enough charisma, they will be a star no matter how off-putting the music may be. Alexis Krauss is a born performer from the word go, part cheerleader, part old-school emcee and part headbanging metal chick. Every American man in his twenties must be smitten.

Even if you had to stick your fingers in your ears -- I thought the Jesus & Mary Chain last month was loud until Wednesday -- it was impossible to take your eyes off her.

She started with a hypnotic hip-hop flow on Reign of Terror's "Demons," whipped her hair like Beavis and Butt-Head whenever the mood struck her, and several times led a room full of very, very eager fans in some rigorous hand-clapping exercises.


Location Info

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Warehouse Live

813 St. Emanuel, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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12 comments
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88
88

I"m confused as to how you have a music blog and hadn't heard of them until they appeared on SNL.

Josh
Josh

Also, they did have what looked like the may have been large horn drivers off to the side of the stage. Someone might be able to confir my suspicion. I did see a tech aiming them a bit mid show. A specialized driver like that shows the sound issues a band like sleigh bells presents.

So I imagine that's simply inherent to their sound in smaller indoor venues. I guess I wouldn't call that a sound quality problem. But I could see why someone would say that.

Josh
Josh

I'd hav to say, if you had an issue with the sq you either aren't familar with a show of that volume. I am not a sound engineer but as a long time concert goer, I do know that Millers guitar were spot on and in to bring Krauss' voice up over them any more than it was would've likely been impossible or at the least ear piercingly bright. To lower the guitarsand synth to come in under voice likely would gut the sound completely.

As far as lip synching goes, I am fairly sure certain runs and hrmonies are piped in, but beyond that the vocals were all krauss.

Any complaint I had stems from the crowd energy not matching th bands.

Joshwebster
Joshwebster

It's a band consisting of a laptop and two guitars backing a single, powerful female vocal. It is hard to imagine an easier act to mix. There is really no excuse for a band like that to sound bad, "louder" does not equal "better".

Chuck
Chuck

Josh is dead on. The sq is part of it. Getting that layered live has got to be difficult but was well done in the middle of the audience (I imagine it wasnt great in the back with the Heineken crowd). Certainly the crowd energy was a little off although everybody new the tunes. I guess when you draw across teens, select 20 something's, 30's hipster playa's and older rockers you get a crowd that doesn't necessarily ever feed on itself. I'd imagine it cranks up at a festival.

Korrie
Korrie

The sound was an issue all night, but if you are a fan your enthusiasm made up for that. The fun fascinating world of being a critic, doing a write up....your disinterest says nothing about what it felt like for a fan. So it can only be taken as, "That was loud and annoying. I'm getting too old for this shit."

Guest
Guest

i saw them open for lcd soundsystem awhile back. i thought they put on a great show. we saw sleigh bells first that night at verizon then the national at hob afterwards. i wish we had seen the national first.

AnonoA
AnonoA

A. Live singing. B. New alblum is not Treats, it's Reign of Terror.

autumn
autumn

We weren't close enough at their last show to see but rumor has it she was lipsyncing the whole time; until she did an a capella song at the end when the crowd kept screaming. Did you happen to see her doing any of that this show?

Korrie
Korrie

 I think there were probably back tracks of some sort, but she was definitely singing her heart out. How else do you get laryngitis in the middle of a tour? Singing while crowdsurfing on her back was the biggest tell, when she somehow got flipped around you could hear her trying not to miss the beat, but the drunks playing grab ass probably made that difficult. It was real. It was authentic. And it was the shit.

Chris Gray
Chris Gray

I'd say it was almost impossible to tell. The sound was... not the best, and I was at the back. It certainly sounded like live vocals, though, at least partially.

Jaycee713
Jaycee713

This was actually their third visit to H-town. Not much of a fan of the new album, so didn't catch the show, but I caught them the last time they came with CSS (almost exactly 1 year ago). They literally played every song from the first album, and when the crowd cheered for more, they said, "That's all we got! See ya when our next album is finished." Sounds like they kept to their promise.

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