Rock star has become an overused descriptor. If you down a can of Four Loko or stay out until the break of dawn, people will say you partied like a rock star. But on Saturday night, Alexis Krauss, singer of Brooklyn based band Sleigh Bells, reminded the packed crowd at Culture Room of the textbook definition of rock star.
The duo of Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller were joined on stage by a drummer and bassist who provided a much harder sound than fans of Sleigh Bells might have expected. The band found a particular branch of fame by juxtaposing noisy, experimental beats behind Krauss's pop diva voice. But knowing Sleigh Bells catalog would not prepare you for how heavy their sound was this weekend. It far surpassed any of their peers you might hear on the xm indie station. This was Ministry heavy. Nine Inch Nails heavy. This was Rage Against the Machine fronted by Christina Aguilera.
From opening song "Minnie," where Krauss bounced on stage in a hooded boxing robe bearing the band's name and the title of their new album Bitter Rivals, they were all energy. Drums were pounded into oblivion, guitar strings thrashed to their breaking point, and Krauss gave it all she had. By second song "Comeback Kid," the robe came off, revealing stockings and lingerie shorts. She embraced the sweaty palms of the fans raising their arms in her direction and effortlessly transitioned her voice from a rap-rock scream to the octave flexible pop from which her musical career first spawned.
Three songs into the set, she thanked the crowd that was expending as much energy as the band. "South Florida, you never disappoint. Let's get this shit going!" And going it went with a blistering rendition off the hit off their debut album Crown on the Ground which brought some technical problems. As local boy Miller tried to fix things, Krauss addressed the crowd, "Do you guys know our new song 'Bitter Rivals'?" A roar of cheers. "Can you sing the chorus?"
She looked surprised as a large contingent recited the words verbatim. "You are my bitter rival/But I need you for survival" She joined in and asked everyone to sing along when they got to the chorus just like that. But with the technical problems addressed, the volume was too loud to hear if the audience kept their promise. It was hard to fathom that Sleigh Bells could keep up this energy for that long, and unfortunately they couldn't. After leading the crowd in a series of hand claps that led into "Infinite Guitars," the band walked off stage only 45 minutes after their set began.
They marched back on for a three song encore. At the end of "A/B Machines," Krauss stage dove into the palm of the crowds' hands, the way moments earlier she held them in hers. In an interview with New Times last week, Derek Miller said Sleigh Bells would be returning to South Florida this coming Spring. We can't recommend enough that you see them, for like another type of star, the shooting kind, Sleigh Bells' appearances might be brief, but they are also spectacular.
Crown on the Ground
True Shred Guitar
Born To Lose
You Don't Get Me Twice
Sing Like A Wire