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Concert review: Sleigh Bells at The Complex

by on October 23, 2013


Some bands lose something as they move from the intimacy of a small club to larger venues.

It’s safe to say that is not the case with noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells, whose bombastic sound always seems larger than the room, no matter what size it is. That was certainly true Tuesday at The Complex, where Sleigh Bells filled the largest venue they’ve played in SLC to date, and did it in style.

The show had everything one would expect in a Sleigh Bells show. Booming beats? Check. Insistent hooks? Got ’em. Chant-along singing? Yup.

There were some new things since last time the band visited. Singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist/producer Derek Miller added a guitar player to the production on their last go-round in Salt Lake City, and this time they added a live drummer to help bring the songs to life. Also new? About a third of the set that came from the band’s brand new third album, Bitter Rivals.

Those songs aren’t a dramatic departure in their recorded form, and they fit perfectly alongside tunes from the band’s first two albums, Treats and Reign of Terror. In concert, Sleigh Bells’ songs flow so easily in and out of each other that it’s basically one long, bass-heavy aural attack, led by a mesmerizing high-energy frontwoman.

Krauss bounced around the stage, banged her head to the beat and pumped up the crowd from show-opener “Minnie” through the final encore song, “A/B Machines.” In between, Krauss, Miller and Co. evenly divided the show’s 15 songs among their three releases, and that approach proved wise. Older songs like “Comeback Kid,” “True Shred Guitar” and “Kids” pumped up the crowd, and while many in attendance might not yet be familiar with songs from Bitter Rivals, released just a few weeks ago, songs like “Tiger Kit,” “You Don’t Get Me Twice” and the title track sounded great, too.

The hour-long set  ended with a one-two punch of “Riot Rhythm” and “Infinity Guitars,” which led into an encore of “Young Legends,” “Sing Like a Wire” and “A/B Machines.”

It was fast. It was loud. It was visually stimulating thanks to a hyperactive light show and Krauss’s stage moves. Good stuff all around. I’m curious to see how big the room will be next time around.

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