Sleigh Bells at The El Rey Theater, October 20, 2010

Sleigh Bells at The El Rey Theater, October 20, 2010

Sleigh Bells

A shirt for sale at the merch booth read in huge letters: “SLAY FUCKING BELLS.”

And that’s what Sleigh Bells did at the El Rey on October 20–for about 30 minutes. :(

Guitarist Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss took the stage with force, performing in front of iconic Marshall stacks, surrounded by smoke and strobe lights. They started out hard with a Slayer intro crushing into their first single “Tell ‘em,” off their debut album, Treats.

Sleigh Bells’ music is hard and crunchy, with a marching band pulse and Miller’s heavy guitar riffs providing the backdrop for Krauss’s shouting vocals. The attitude is schoolyard bitch not to be messed with, and Krauss is the head “Heather” ruling the school.

From “Infinity Guitars”: “Dumb whores, best friends / Infinity guitars, go ’head.” Yup, that about summed up high school.

With Sleigh Bells, we can add another group to the list of new buzz bands with a guy and girl-with-bangs duo (see Crystal Castles, Phantogram, She & Him) and a cool genre name… I think Sleigh Bells are best described as post-cheerleader noise pop shred beat.

Besides the super-short set time, the bummer of the night was that it was only Miller and Krauss on stage, performing the guitar and vocal elements. The beats and samples driving the music were presumably coming from some laptop or equipment backstage. It would have been cool to see a drummer on stage, or at least someone fiddling with some knobs and pumping their fist. ANYTHING to make the show feel a little more spontaneous and complete.

For example, when Krauss performed my personal fave “Rill Rill”–the band’s slower jam over a sample of Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That” – it was basically karaoke with the track behind and Miller not even on stage with her.

Like the flashes of the strobes, it was all over in a short spurt. About 30 minutes on stage and the pair were done slaying fucking bells. And no dessert. They left us without an encore. Hmmph.

Sleigh Bells|