Audio issues damper Sleigh Bells show but audience still pleased

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Sleigh Bells played to a packed house at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa Tuesday, Oct. 19. After three opening acts and nearly four hours after the doors had opened, Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller, otherwise known as the voice and music of Sleigh Bells, finally took the stage.

Since the release of their debut album “Treats” in May, Sleigh Bells have earned a lot of positive attention from critics and listeners. Their sound is difficult to describe: a punk rock attitude in a fun pop context, with loads of distortion. It’s definitely something to look forward to hearing out of the ten gigantic Marshall amps that rested on the stage, just taunting audience members to edge a little closer.

The first notes to “Tell ‘Em” hit the crowd with force. Hands and heads went up when Krauss’s voice filled the room.  “Kids” was next, but halfway through the song, the main public address speaker (PA) went out. Miller went off the stage, presumably to see if it was something he could fix. It wasn’t, but the show resumed. It was the kind of thing that could end a show, but to Krauss’ credit, she continued undaunted. It could have ruined the rest of the show, but you couldn’t tell by watching the crowd.

Quick-paced lyrics and sultry moans mingled with Miller’s punk-influenced guitar. Spectators pushed forward as much as they could and cheered whenever they were supposed to. Krauss always yelled back in return, enjoying the level of crowd participation. The forty-minute set ended with crowd-pleasing singles “Rill Rill” and “Crown of the Ground”.

This show wasn’t the impressive set it could have been. The broken PA kept the band from performing at peak level, but that‘s the risk of playing at the levels Sleigh Bells plays at. It just means everyone in the audience has a reason to see them perform again. It shouldn’t be an issue; this is a band that’s going to be making noise for a while.

written by Matthew Taylor