Sleigh Bells slid down SOhO’s chimney last Monday, Oct. 18 and delivered a 30 minute, 29 second sonic dance assault to the packed house. I know the exact length of the performance because when they stopped playing at 11:30 p.m., chants of “Sleigh Bells! Sleigh Bells!” accompanied by stomping feet were answered by vocalist Alexis Krauss, who climbed back onstage and asked the crowd how many songs they had on their album. They had played all of them, they didn’t know any more and they weren’t about to stand up there and make one up. There was more cussing in there though, and to be fair she did tell everyone to go have an awesome dance party of their own.
That exchange is indicative of the feel of the evening. For those who don’t know, Sleigh Bells is what you would get if you took Ratatat on one end and, I don’t know, a female Kid Rock (taking away some of the trailer park vibe and adding a shirt) and put them inside a supercollider, shot them at each other and then listened to the results. Their songs are pretty much all sonic freakouts with a decided Uffie-meets-Death From Above 1979 feel, and they ran through all of them out of order but perfectly on time.
Sleigh Bells opened the show with the rocking “Kids,” getting the crowd up on their feet and moving their hips. Well, kind of. Most of the time the audience was stuck in a weird nether-zone between dancing and not dancing, where half of the crowd was jumping up and down and the other half was crossing their arms and looking around like “Where are my not-dancing people and why are the rest of these assholes so happy to be here?”
Which brings me to something that I absolutely hate about going to concerts: Sometimes small girls will elbow their way ahead of you on their way to the front, which is fine, because small people need love too and nobody deserves to get frozen out because of their height (I say this as a former small boy and current average-sized one). But when a pack of dudes saying things like “I hope this is sick, bro!” and “Woo!” before the concert even starts decides to follow aforementioned small girls and stand right in front of my face, I want to punch them in the back of the head. I would never do that of course. Instead, I leave it to heroes like the huge dude in flannel who decided that his personal space expanded beyond two inches and started throwing people around like paper dolls. Big ups, big guy.
Oh, and one more thing: doing a double pits to chesty is not a replacement for showering. It is, however, an excellent substitute for syrup of ipecac.
Pictureplane opened the show and laid down a solid set consisting mainly of him pressing play, jumping around a lot and yelling incomprehensibly into the microphone. There were stoplights flashing red, yellow and green onto him onstage, which was moderately cool, and then he picked one up and started dancing with it for his big closer, which was more cool. Then, he said “this is a song about sex” and played a song that was supposedly about sex, but the lyrics weren’t comprehensible or important, so we were left with his production skills, which are pretty good and top notch for an opening act on a Monday in Santa Barbara.