SXSW: Sleigh Bells at Zynga’s Dog House

While I enjoy Sleigh Bells’ debut album Treats, I was a little unsure how the duo of Derek E. Miller (songwriter, guitarist, producer) and Alexis Krauss (vocals) could pull it off live. By the time the first song of the set was no more than half way over, the jaded critic inside me was throwing his arms up and swaying to the music. Sleigh Bells is everything you want them to be and more and on the night of  March 13th 2011 everyone at Zynga’s SXSW party was digging for invites to their next show.

Alexis has the power to move a crowd in ways I’ve never seen, her stage presence screams sex and demands attention and it only took a few seconds for the drunken crowd to take hold. Even if they were waiting for TV on the Radio there was no one in the house that didn’t leave a fan. With eyes barely open you can see that she loves what she is doing. Even if there had been one person in the crowd, the delivery would have been the same, true passion. That’s just one of the things that makes Sleigh bells unique, the other half of the band add the rest of the mixed intensity.

Guitar player Derek E. Miller brings a different flair to Sleigh Bells and in my youth I wore out many of his former band’s records. You can tell Derek is definitely there for the show as he sprints to the front of the stage attacking the crowd with a mix of heavy and melodic riffs. Derek still has his hardcore mentality and while the crowd may have changed, he has no problem with helping them reach their more primal side. As fists flew in the air their hands just couldn’t help but throw up a little devil sign. I guess there is a little hardcore in all of us just waiting to come out.

Sleigh Bells is the whole package, the hype is true. While I love the record, it is nothing compared to the band live. The mix of strobe lights and internal organ-shaking bass is something you just can’t recreate on an album, hell I don’t even think you can recreate the intensity of Sleigh Bells on video. Blu Ray isn’t high def enough for what they have to offer, we will just have to wait for a new medium to have the Sleigh Bells experience at home. While you can find just about anything at SXSW, I’m still searching for something as close to what I felt at that show and nothing seems to cut the bill.  With just a few more days left on my SXSW ticket I hope that I find something, but chances are I will have to wait until June 6th when Sleigh bells rolls into Kansas City. So, to say that I’m waiting with open ears to hear that they will play again at SXSW is an understatement. I highly suggest you see them live and if you live in the Kansas City area you can come down to the Beaumont Club and jump around with me on June 6th. For more information go to

By Ryan Davis

I noticed that Sam had escaped from his tent this morning. I asked around camp, and Cousin Ben seemed to think that they went to see some band called Walk The Moon? Ben should be there looking for Sam and Suzy. If you’re stuck you could always ask @lostinreviews on twitter or here on Facebook.

About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Founder of Lost in Reviews, a member of The Kansas City Film Critic's Circle, and a key component in the movement to digitally restore the 1986 classic film The Gate. Ryan is also the co-host of Blu Monday a DVD and Blu Ray review show which Lost in Reviews co-founder Angela Davis also appears. While he may be a film and music snob, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. Well it could if you don't like the same bands or films he does, overall it might be best to avoid the subject all together.

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