Sleigh Bells at The Midland in Kansas City

The Sleigh Bells show was intended as a makeup show although by the end of the night, most wouldn’t have thought of it as any less than a full-size concert with music turned up to eleven, guaranteeing to leave your ears ringing. Opening for Sleigh Bells was Neon Indian, hailing from New York. The synth-pop band played a luxurious set to a nearly full Midland. I was impressed by their colorful set and how well they played off the gorgeous, indie-hipster crowd. I had been listening to their albums, Psychic Chasms and Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed for a month or so and most impressive was how close to the albums the live shows were. Now, I know what you are thinking and no, it wasn’t just soundbites filling in during the set, they played it all live. The only gripe I had with their albums, which bled over into the set, was how alike some of the songs are. At times it could feel like three or four songs were just strung together jam sessions of each other. However, they did serve as a nice opener for Sleigh Bells and the crowd seemed to enjoy them with the constant swaying to the eighties’ Depeche Mode vibe they were giving out.

So Sleigh Bells was returning to KC after cancelling on the Night the Buzz Stole Xmas show, so for those that never cashed in their tickets from that night, it was a free show tonight. For others, it was only $9.65, a fee anyone would be stupid to pass up for an ear-bleeding set by the duo from Brooklyn. For calling themselves American noise-pop, they sure have a strong influence in late eighties heavy metal. They were introduced on stage to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Or is that just ironic because they feed the hipster crowd? Whatever it is, it was raw enjoyment. Their collection of Marshall amps stacked across the stage served as a warning before the show that this was going to be loud. This was my second time seeing their set and it was no less organ-shaking than the first time my ears experienced them live. With Derek Miller on the guitar, leading the funky, dance-punk beats and Alexis Krauss screaming in the faces of the adoring fans, the set seemed short, but with only one album, Treats, beneath their belt, what do you expect? They managed to get the crowd off in a minimum time and even announced that they hoped this set made up for the cancellation of the last show, although with a few more choice words thrown in-between.

The crowd ate it up too, there was jumping non-stop, hands being held high and some lame attempts at getting a mosh pit started. There wasn’t, however, any crowd-surfing. Let’s hope that’s gone out of style for a while, I hate being kicked in the head when I’m just trying to watch a set. The crowd was certainly not short on sweat and weed however, as the place reeked of both afterward.

I had a good time at the show, and I gather that most others did as well. They closed out their set with a song I thought I was sick of hearing by now, until hearing it live again. “A/B Machines” is one of their songs that rings in heavy but my iPod seemed to favor it a bit too much. Probably because of it’s alphabetical placement, however, hearing it live just sent me jumping as I sang along to the simple lyrics with the rest of the crowd. I have no doubt that Sleigh Bells will be back to promote their new album soon, which they are currently working on, and you can bet I will be there, with an expensive pair of ear plugs next time.

story and photos by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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