BEING THERE: Sleigh Bells @ Union Transfer


When Sleigh Bells took the stage last night at Union Transfer, I got the feeling that some serious ass-kicking was about to take place. A military-style drum line track introduced the four-piece band as they took their places accordingly, building up anticipation for the arrival of frontwoman Alexis Krauss. Emerging onstage dressed in a flashy, silk cheetah-print boxing robe with the words “Bitter Rival” across the back, Krauss made it seem as if the show was merely a pit-stop after a run up the steps of the Art Museum with Rocky Balboa. She made it clear that the band was ready to go the distance for the late night show. Picking up on the energy of the ecstatic crowd, Krauss threw off the robe and spent the rest of the night singing and dancing with a permanent smile across her face. The band played an intensely energetic sixteen song set, supporting their new album Bitter Rivals, as well as a few classic singles from Treats and Reign of Terror. Their use of shrill, noisy guitars and eardrum-piercing percussion sounds was reminiscent of a psychotic robot run amok in a discothèque, but sat well with Krauss’ gritty yet well-tuned vocals, making for an iconic presentation. Songs ranged from being melodic and flowing, to booming and on the edge of a crunk hip-hop freestyle. When the show took off, the crowd compacted to the front end of the stage, where Krauss reached out to her fans, who shouted along with every lyric to show they totally loved her act. The audience ranged from youngsters at their first real concert experience, to drunk old dudes in suit jackets and ties trying to pass a joint, so it wasn’t easy to pick out whatever a true Sleigh Bells fan was supposed to look like. Caught up in the moment, some fans seemed to be stripping down for the occasion, throwing bras and coats towards Krauss mid-performance. Regardless, she acknowledged her fans lovingly, laughing and remarking that she was thrilled to see some familiar faces— even mentioning one concertgoer by name. The good, friendly vibes and frenetic sound carried on throughout the show, which was a welcome jolt for any weekday night in the city. — MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

Comeback Kid
Tiger Kit
Crown on the Ground
Bitter Rivals
Love Sick
True Shred Guitar
Born to Lose
You Don’t Get Me Twice
Riot Rhythm
Infinity Guitars

Young Legends
Sing Like a Wire
A/B Machines