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Live review: Sleigh Bells @ The Shipping Forecast

by Miriam Sauter & Mark McNulty. Published Sat 22 May 2010 15:17
Photo by Mark McNulty http://www.mcnulty.co.uk/
Photo by Mark McNulty http://www.mcnulty.co.uk/

Around 11.30pm jet-black darkness sets in the basement of The Shipping Forecast. Out of nowhere the breakable sounds of hallowed church bells flood this bunker-like premise. Then, underneath the red-lighted spider’s web, appears a hooded dude.


The church bells get ditched by Tell ‘Em’s heavy electronic bass beats. And hooded dude, aka guitarist Derek Miller, almost gets chucked against the stonewalls by frontlady Alexis Krauss as she energetically jumps on-stage.

Sleigh Bells have taken over Liverpool Sound City 2010!

During the next thirty minutes Alexis manages to get her tribe ready for battle. Announcements are not necessary. Who is here knows the genre-twisting New York noise-pop duo already. Music blogs around the globe have not stopped spinning, buzzing, unravelling the latest since Sleigh Bells’ mind-blowing performance at the CMJ Music Marathon 2009.


Tell ‘Em’s in-your-face lyrics, finger snaps and exuberant drum slaps are followed by two of our demo-favourites, Infinity Guitars and A/B Machines. Now penetrating our ears is Alexis who reciprocally squeals the magical formula “Got my A machines on the table / Got my B machines on the drawer” in perfectly timed unison with some wild-wild-western guitar rumbles, before sliding into an intermezzo of discordances and claps.

Next up, the tribe engages almost manically in the wonderfully grotesque yet catchy, eclectic harmonic mixtures of Kids and Riot Rhythm. All this drama is underlined by Alexis’ serene AYEE screams before letting it all out to Treats - 6th song of the night and title of their debut LP produced by M.I.A.’s label N.E.E.T.

Time to relax one’s hearing? Screw that! We are heading towards the end of the show. Pussycats can wait outside the door. Derek and Alexis, both in sheer ecstasy, throw the pounding chords of Straight A’s at us. Electro vs. Punk. Temperature is rising.

Despite Derek’s abrasive guitar accompaniment, Holly tames our overflowing courage. After all this NOIZE the track seems somewhat somniferous with its straightened out two-four time.
In typical manner, the night finishes with the grand, enchanting Crowned On The Ground. Provocative, contagious, edged-out.


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