03 May 2011

[review] Sleigh Bells/CSS

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The following is yet another installment of insufficient and shoddy journalism fated to suffer at the hands of what seems to be a never-ending semester. Despite an arduous week of final portfolios, papers, and exams, I’ve managed to make it out to several excellent shows once again.
A week ago from today, against the will of my better judgment, I crammed into a compact car with four other students and traveled up to Baton Rouge to catch CSS and Sleigh Bells perform at the Varsity Theatre.
After the stoned and starry eyed opener, whose name I have yet to learn, finished a short set, CSS donned the stage in immaculate numbers. The great and over arching contrast of CSS as an opener for Sleigh Bells is that there really are so many people playing instruments on stage that you can’t even count them (while Sleigh Bells is made up of Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss alone).


Before long, a friend of mine was dancing on a speaker box with CSS front woman LoveFoxxx, and the sold out crowd was bumpin’ and grindin’ in a sparkling bath of glitter. As if the shocking fact that a Sleigh Bells show had sold out in Baton Rouge, Louisiana wasn’t enough to make me believe that Bin Laden is dead (oh, wait) LoveFoxxx’s confession that a crowd of LSU has been the best on their tour thus far is.
Highlights of CSS’s sleazy dance party came (of course) with their provocative ode to Death From Above 1979, “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above,” and before they could even finish their set, I had never been so glad in my life to completely ignore all of my responsibilities.
Shortly after the clearance of CSS’s monstrosity of a setup from the stage, Sleigh Bells appeared to open with the main theme of “Iron Man,” that was loud enough to blow out some knees.
For those of you out there that have never seen this act live, allow me to share the most valuable lesson I have learned from this show: modern day stadium rock stars truly do exist, and every once in a while a band finds a sound that is actually worth sticking to. This is it if I’ve ever seen it (or heard it) folks – Derek Miller has a wall of 4 Marshall stacks, for Christ’s sake, and that’s one of the coolest things I can personally imagine.

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Another excellent aspect of this band is their inability to bore you in between songs. With minimal breaks, Sleigh Bells sends the message loud and clear that they have come to do one thing, and one thing only: to melt your precious face with deafening rock n’ roll music.
Overall, the set was short, concise, and to the point, and while many people allowed this to become the source of their criticisms, I walked away happy, having heard every track I longed for (“Infinity Guitars,” “Run the Heart,” and “Rill Rill”).
The night ended with an almost sexual encounter with LoveFoxxx (flattering nonetheless), broken noses, and whiskey on the Indian mounds at LSU. We even made it back in time for class the next morning.

Post Script: Alexis Krauss is sooooooo hot.

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"Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above" by CSS

"Infinity Guitars" by Sleigh Bells

"Rill Rill" by Sleigh Bells

- Article written and composed by Justen Cheney
- All photos by Joshua Brasted except Sleigh Bells playlist photo
- Sleigh Bells playlist photo by Chelsea Norris

For more pictures from the show,
check out Joshua's Flickr.

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