Sleigh Bells at The Phoenix, Toronto – Concert review and photos

March 28, 2012

Sleigh Bells at The Phoenix, Toronto - photo Rebecca Connor, Music Vice
The Gig: Sleigh Bells
Where: Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Canada
When: 26 March 2012
In One Word: Berserk

Following the release of their second full length album Reign Of Terror, Brooklyn based duo (with an additional touring guitarist) Sleigh Bells played a sold out show Monday night at The Phoenix with Toronto’s own Trust as the opening act.

Synth pop duo Trust opened the show. I dig this band but they were kind of dull to watch. The members of the band looked bored onstage. The singer’s slow motion vocals are a contrast to the electronic, beat driven instrumentals, but it’s hard to decide if it’s all just an act. The lead singer, Robert Alfons, kind of reminded me of Joy Division’s, Ian Curtis. It seemed as though Alfons was possessed by the music, only able to let go of his inner demons when it was his turn to release them via his deep, haunting vocals.

When Trust had finished their set, I overheard one of the security guards at the front of the stage say to his colleague “It’s going to get crazy in here.” I silently laughed off his comment. Crazy? Yeah right! But when the show began, I realized that he clearly had a much better idea about what was about to unfold than I.

When Sleigh Bells took the stage, the crowd went absolutely berserk and the madness did end not end until the show was over.

26 year old singer Alexis Krauss was born to perform. Her vocals were bang on, she is absolutely fearless, and she is fucking insane. Even if you hated Sleigh Bell’s music, it would be impossible not to appreciate Krauss’ stage/crowd antics. Her high range shallow vocals are no indication of her exterior. Krauss, an attractive brunette, wore a studded leather jacket, printed cutoff shorts with fishnets and an altered Def Leppard t-shirt. She looked badass! But it’s not just for show and Krauss proved it. After Sleigh Bells hit the stage, it wasn’t long before Krauss was climbing along the edge of the stage, leaning over monitors to reach out to the tightly packed sweaty kids and jumping down into the pit between the stage and the crowd barrier- all while singing. A security nightmare, but she didn’t seem to care. When Sleigh Bell’s played the song “Rill Rill,” Krauss stepped it up a notch. “Are you ready?” she asked the crowd and she proceeded to jump into the arms of her fans to crowd surf, mic in hand, still singing.

As I write this, my ears are still ringing in the aftermath. The show was loud, the music was explosive and the performance was brilliant.  I’ve been on the fence about Sleigh Bells for a long time. I’ve had trouble deciding whether or not I actually enjoyed the intense guitar, effects driven, noise pop, that Sleigh Bells are responsible for creating. After seeing the band perform live on Monday night at The Phoenix, I know where I stand as a fan.

© Rebecca Connor, Music Vice

Photos of Sleigh Bells at Mod Club (click to enlarge attachment):

Internet links:
Sleigh Bells

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