Monday, April 15, 2024

Sleigh Bells Rock the Club But Come Up Short

“That was awesome, but it was so short!” ~ A random girl standing behind me after Saturday’s Sleigh Bells show at Grand Central

I will now try, in 400 words or so, to rephrase that pithy assessment, it being the perfect and perennial Sleigh Bells review in seven words. After the Brooklyn duo’s first South Florida show, last July at Respectable

Street, I griped about the blink-and-you-miss-it brevity of its live show, which tore through all 11 tracks on its debut album “Treats” in roughly the same amount of time as the record – a whole 32 minutes – and gave us nothing else. The same was true for Saturday’s show at Grand Central in Miami, almost a year after “Treats” hit stores. It’s the right amount of time for most opening bands – which Sleigh Bells was in October when they opened for LCD Soundsystem at the Fillmore – but for a headliner, it’s not a lot to ask for more material than just the iPod-prompted backing music of “Treats” set to shuffle. Perhaps I’m used to more prolific bands, but I was hoping for a few new tunes sprinkled among the familiar head-boppers.

All of that being said, the “awesome” part of that above criticism is equally important: Sleigh Bells is one of the most fun live acts you’ll see today, period, and its stage presence is only improving with experience. It was a clear night in Miami, but vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller created plenty of sonic thunder and lightning – not to mention smoke — at the capacity-packed nightclub of sweaty, teeming, fist-pumping hipsters. The heavily made-up Krauss resembled a ‘70s glam siren, and her wardrobe for the evening – a faux Michael Jordan jersey with “Bells” on one side and “Slay” on the other – may have been ironic, but it didn’t matter, because she brought the power, from surprise opener “Crown on the Ground” to the closing track, the ultimate audience favorite “A/B Machines.”

In their short-but-awesome way, Sleigh Bells concerts are at once the climax and anticlimax of your night out. The experience is visceral and earth-shattering enough to be climactic, while at the same time, you’ll have sat through more time watching the copious opening acts than you will the duo’s meager set. It may leave you wondering, “I sat through all this and bought all those drinks for that?” “Treats” is a modern masterpiece, but hey Miller and Krauss: It’s time for something new.

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