This past weekend was a great one. So great in fact, that this is part one of the weekend, focusing on the Sleigh Bells concert I attended on April 14th 2012.
The show started off with a band I’d never heard of, Elite Gymnastics, who’s presence on stage was muted yet exaggerated all at the same time. If that makes sense….
To start off with, when we arrived at the venue for the concert the Slowdown, near the beautiful Old Market in downtown Omaha NE, the stage was set up like this;
Then Elite Gymnastics came on. I must say I wasn’t that impressed when they first started but once you began to understand the type of music they were playing; more noise-pop than Sleigh Bells but also a lot more electronica added. The odd thing was the way they turned down the lights completely so you couldn’t really see the two band members as they played. Instead we were shown a Karaoke Music Video that played through the duration of their set. That in itself set Elite Gymnastics apart from almost all bands I’ve ever seen perform.
Next up on the docket was Brooklyn based electronic duo Javelin.
I’ve heard Javelin here and there over the past few years and was not at all ready for the awesome show they pulled off. The duo, cousins in actuality, rock out with a Bass Guitar and a single Ride Cymbal being the only ‘analog’ instruments on the stage. The rest of the music is played through prerecorded loops and melodies and beat out by the drummer on his electronic drum pad. It was a great show and if you have a chance to check them out you definitely should. Here’s a small excerpt of a song I was able to record.
And then it was time… Time for the thunder and the lightning and the more than off chance of getting Epilepsy from the strobe lights. That’s right Sleigh Bells. I have thoroughly enjoyed Sleigh Bells since getting turned onto them a little more than a year ago. I listened to the CD a few times then had the opportunity to pick up the Vinyl which me and my friend ‘S’ pretty much played through more than a few times a week. So I was happy when ‘S’ said she’d go along to this show too. It was incredible to see the energy that singer Alexis Krauss spread through the crowd. I always think of the line from the 2000 Cameron Crowe film “Almost Famous” when I see great shows. The line comes from singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) “You know what I do? I connect. I get people off. I look for the guy who isn’t getting off, and I make him get off.”
It’s the job of the singer, when they don’t also play an instrument, to make people enjoy the show, to move around, to . . . well . . . get people off! Alexis has a great understanding of this. I don’t believe she really stopped moving since the moment she stepped on stage.
The music was infectious, people were up on their feet, hands were in the air, laughter and joy was all around and that was only after the first song. As the set continued, you could see the crowd inching closer to the stage, but at the same time, there were stragglers, people sitting back in the bar area, just there to enjoy the music and that’s what bands like Sleigh Bells bring out.
I’ve been to rock concerts where there are more fights than enjoyment of the music, more screaming than listening, more wasted money than entertainment gained.
That said, I would follow Sleigh Bells around for a while just to see another performance like that. It sounded real, it looked real, it felt real and when all was said and done, the band was just chilling in back by the merch table smiling and laughing with their fans.
If you get a chance to see the Sleigh Bells on this tour, do it. It’s going to be hard to beat the tour as a whole including both openers. Great show, and a great weekend.
The next post should be pretty good too as it focuses on the foodie aspect of this past weekend. I miss my foodie weekends, maybe they’ll come back sometime.