The wall of Marshall amps stacked up at the back of the Whelan’s stage was a big hint about what to expect from Sleigh Bells’ debut Irish gig. Those familiar with the band’s debut album Treats which is characterised by in your face bombastic productions, wouldn’t have bet against the New Yorkers’ live show being super-loud.
Within the first minute of ‘Infinity Guitars’, it was clear that’s the way Sleigh Bells intended their music to be heard. This was room-shaking, body-moving, no-nonsense noise-rock with bass-quaking, gut-shaking low end more readily associated with hip-hop and electronic music. Over the course of 35 minutes, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss plow through all of their material. Miller stage dives, thrashes his guitar around the stage like he’s trying to make it to GO LOUDER, while Krauss riles up the room with vocals that swing from sweet to shouting to incorporating some Olympic screaming.
A thrillingly short yet pulverisingly effective set in which songs like ‘A/B Machines’, ‘Tell ‘Em’ and ‘Straight A’s’ are dropped like bombs, the show was a barrage of primal noise, aided by strobe lights and distortion. It hardly matters that the duo are aided by backing track on all of their songs, and it is questionable whether Krauss, was actually singing during the downtempo ‘Rill Rill’, the overall effect is a primary one that leaves you wishing Sleigh Bells were the band you started when you were a teenager.
Photos: Damien McGlynn.