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In Concert: Sleigh Bells at Rock & Roll Hotel

sleigh bellsSleigh Bells brought the noise to Rock & Roll Hotel, Friday. (Xiaomei Chen/TWP)

By Mark Jenkins

Since Sleigh Bells' music has so few ingredients, it might seem unwise for the Brooklyn duo to neglect any of them. But that's just what singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist-programmer Derek Miller did Friday night at the Rock & Roll Hotel, jettisoning most of their style's pop quotient and emphasizing minimalist synth-metal.

The arena-rock vibe came partially from the band's presentation: The two musicians were shadowy and remote, silhouetted by red spotlights and white strobes. Krauss did utter a few friendly remarks, but the twosome was mostly intent on making its somewhat dinky music -- a puree of riot-grrrl punk and playground-chant hip-hop -- seem and feel immense.

(One-dimensional crunch, after the jump)

With its slabs of guitar noise and pummeling, stop-start beats, Sleigh Bells usually sounded more like Atari Teenage Riot than Tom Tom Club. Melody and variety were lost in the tumult, except during the set-closing "Rill Rill," when Miller left the stage and Krauss was left alone with little more than a Funkadelic sample and her own voice -- and a capacity crowd that was happy to sing along.

Several other tunes could have achieved a better balance of blithe humanity and heavy industry. But the duo approached nearly all its material with the same vehemence, blasting the singsongy "Tell 'Em" as noisily as the crunching "Crown on the Ground." The effect was formidable yet one-dimensional. Nobody appeared to mind when the band shut down its clanging production line after only 35 minutes; much more would have been overkill.

By Mark Jenkins  |  July 5, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Sleigh Bells  
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