On Friday, November 2nd my life was changed. I had the honor of attending the First Ave presentation of Araabmuzik and Sleigh Bells. My whole afternoon was spent in preparation for this night buying flesh-colored earplugs and finding clothes that I could spare to lose. Last May I looked like a refugee when I left the concert. My shoes were covered in grime and my v-neck had been ripped off during the rambunctious moshing. Walking back to my car shirtless in downtown Minneapolis was a traumatic experience for me. This time however, I was prepared for battle against my fellow concertgoers.
Arriving a half hour after Araabmuzik began, the first time I saw him boggled my mind as it appeared he didn’t have two hands, but rather two blurs. His hands were moving faster than anything I’ve ever seen. You know those really talented piano players that move their fingers so fluidly; well they don’t have anything on this guy.
The climax of his performance happened when the music stopped and he began wailing on his synthesizer. He started off slowly, with asteady snare, then the beat started moving faster, and faster. It wasn’t just the snare though, a bass line was added and soon enough BAMMMM, he dropped the beat and the music started playing again. The whole crowd went nuts; I knew I was in for a treat if this is how crowd reacted to the opening act.
The change of pace between Araabmuzik and waiting for Sleigh Bells to come on was almost unbearable. My heart was racing and I was in no mood to talk to my friends because I was in such anticipation of the sheer madness to come. I couldn’t even leave to use the bathroom out of fear I would lose my spot on the floor. However, soon enough the lights dimmed and Alexis Kraus walked out with her cut-off jeans and ripped-shirt punk look.
The set began with a song off Reign of Terror, “Comeback Kid.” I have some problems with this album because I just don’t really feel the emotion that Derek Miller (guitarist and writer) was going for. However that doesn’t mean they rocked in concert. I will defend Sleigh Bells to the death when people say they don’t like them, because I believe they are a band that you are supposed to see live to really experience the true Sleigh Bells. Hating a Sleigh Bells concert is like frowning in a room full of puppies.
The intensity of the crowd escalated stupendously when Treats song, “Crown on the Ground” was played. The shrill beginning is like a siren warning all the cravens to leave the audience and get ready for one hell of a riot. I was entranced immediately into the violent head-banging that was contagious amongst the crowd when the song drops and Alexis starts cheering us on.
It is surreal how the lights are always perfectly synchronized with the music. Whenever things get heavy with the band, the strobe lights are always going off. Your senses are dominated by Sleigh Bells. It was all you could hear, the lights all you could see, the feeling of getting pushed and shoved, and the smell of spilled beer all over the floor. You become lost in the concert for the hour and a half show, and that’s why is never feels long enough.
Looking back, I was worried that with their new, mellower album, the concert wouldn’t be as fun. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Alternating from the intensity of Treats and Alexis’ soft vocals on Reign of Terror it was the perfect combination. To all of you people who are looking to add some more music to your iTunes playlist, I would highly recommend this band. They will certainly get your heart pumping, and maybe even make you want to punch a hole in your wall. Next time they come back to Minneapolis, buy a ticket. Buy it immediately! It will be unforgettable.
-Eric Buckley, Soup de Jour