If anyone finds a pair of ears lying on the ground outside San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, please return them to me – they got rocked off at the Sleigh Bells concert and I haven’t found them since.
There’s no gimmick involved at a Sleigh Bells show: it’s sexy, aggressive, and – let’s not beat around the bush here – loooouuud. Carried by the endless well of energy that fuels Alexis Krauss’ innate rockstardom, Sleigh Bells pump out biting anthems, the kind that beg for a stacked wall of amplifiers (present) to broadcast riffs that crackle in the high frequencies of your eardrums (also present, the riffs – not so much my eardrums anymore). And Krauss is fully attuned to what it takes to be a showstopping frontwoman. She yelps out frenzied lyrics, coyly flaunting her sex appeal and jumping up and down like a madwoman to demonstrate some Sleigh Bells-approved dance moves to the crowd. (It ain’t that hard: arms up, thrash around!)
But it all comes together around a basic concept of rock music: lay out a kick and a snare, a relentlessly powerful guitar riff, put your charisma up front and rock some faces off. However much you happen to enjoy Sleigh Bells on recording, these songs are built simply enough to thrive at high volume. Which is why the audience was on point when Krauss held out the microphone to supplement her “AH ohhhs!” on “Comeback Kid,” and most of the rest of her semi-lyrical squeals along the way – because Sleigh Bells’ songs funnel the focus toward Krauss’ attitude, and she possesses the gravitas to hold it all together.
How I know Alexis Krauss has established clout as a bona fide rockstar: beyond knowing all the lyrics, various women in the crowd jumped on shoulders and sported pompoms, copping Krauss’ cheerleader/jock aesthetic that pops up on the cover of Treats and in their video for “Infinity Guitars.” Beyond writing empowering songs, Krauss is setting trends and inviting their loyal following into her world, where being a loud, unashamed, fun-having badass is once again acceptable – nay, encouraged.