April 4, 2012
Fox Theater in Pomona
Six Marshall amplifier stacks, a barrage of strobe lights and chest rattling bass shook the Fox Theater in Pomona as Sleigh Bells came out swinging. Hands were in the air as the twin Jackson guitar assault of Derek Miller and Jason Boyer pummeled the audience with the metallic power chords of "Demons."
The beautiful juxtaposition of the super heavy guitars meshed against Alexis Krauss's sugary sweet vocals works well for the formula of Sleigh Bells. Alternating new songs with older material, Sleigh Bells kept the audience dancing along and maintained a high energy throughout the evening. Billowing smoke and flashing strobe lights visually kept your attention while the sheer volume of their songs rattled your brain.
Most of their songs barely clock in at three minutes. "True Shred Guitar" hits you over the head with a sledgehammer and by the time the stars clear from your vision, Sleigh Bells are coming back at you with the drilling guitars of "Kids." Your only chance to recover was during the watery guitars and soothing vocals of "End Of The Line."
Sounding much better (ie louder) than their Saturday Night Live performance, "Comeback Kids" was ferocious. Guitars dominated once again for "Straight A's" as Krauss showed off her pipes by screaming out the vocals mercilessly. "Leader of The Pack" had Krauss twirling her arms in circles along to the beat and dancing across the stage.
The wobbly tremolo guitars of "Treats" had Krauss jump down onto the barricade and engaging the audience to sing along. "Rill Rill" closed out their main set as it seemed like they had only been playing for fifteen minutes. Saving my favorite song for the closer, "A/B Machines" sounded blissful with its careening guitars and gigantic electronic drums. Sleigh Bells are like a can of Red Bull, full of the sweetness of sugar and hyper kinetic energy of caffeine.
One of the opening bands Javelin did a fine job blending electronic drums, synthesizers, samples and bass into a hypnotic dense mass. They also put together a unique cover of "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys which was impressive.
Personal Bias: I have a crush on Alexis Krauss.
Random Notebook Dump: I got chased out of the photo pit by the drummer of the other opening band who I happened to forget what the name of their band was. Hope you enjoy that publicity guys.
"Crown On The Ground"
"True Shred Guitar"
"End Of The Line"
"Born To Lose"
"Leader Of The Pack"
"Never Say Die"