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Sleigh Bells @ Mazda Studio at Empire Garage presented by Stereogum // SXSW 3/14/2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Sleigh Bells @ Mazda Studio at Empire Garage presented by Stereogum // SXSW 3/14/2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

For every artist we decided to catch at SXSW, we decided to review each performance with our own version of “Five Ws and One H” answering the questions: 1) Who are they, 2) What kind of music do they play, 3) When did they play, 4) Where are they from, 5) Why did we decide to catch them play and 6), How was their performance.


WHO: Sleigh Bells: Alexis Krauss (vocals) and Derek E. Miller (guitar).

WHAT: High energy noise pop that will wake you the fuck up.

WHEN: 3/14/17 at Mazda Studio at Empire Garage presented by Stereogum.

WHERE: Brooklyn, New York.

WHY: The first time I ever saw (and shot) Sleigh Bells was at Air+Style in Los Angeles a few years ago. Their performance was a highlight of that day, and there was no way in hell I was going miss a chance to see them again, especially having just released their fourth studio album, “Jessica Rabbit”.

HOW: There was no better way to end my second day at SXSW than with Sleigh Bells absolutely smashing it with huge drum tracks, frenetic guitar riffs and Ms. Krauss’ aggressively infectious spirit. The way they’ve been able to successfully combine heavy metal guitars, thumping bass lines, hip-hop rhythms and pop sensibilities (catchy hooks and choruses) is the kind of stuff that will always get a party going, and this was the party that I wanted to be at. As soon as the lights dimmed, and Alexis and Derek walked on stage, with the crowd cheering their every step, I knew the party had commenced.

If you haven’t seen Sleigh Bells in concert, you don’t know what you’re missing. Alexis is a force of nature on stage. Whether singing, rapping or screaming, she’s constantly in motion. Whipping her hair to the beat, running from one end of the stage to the other or diving into the audience, she must have an extra reservoir of adrenaline lined in her body to maintain that intense level of energy.

As Alexis riled up the audience to sing louder and dance harder, she invested her trust in them to carry her from the stage to surf the crowd. Everyone in the pit had their hands in the air to offer Alexis support. As she was lifted and carried about 7-10 rows deep, I recalled the two banners that they had draped over the huge speakers down stage that read “Loyalty” and “Keep Faith”. At that moment, both Alexis and the audience expressed their loyalty to one another, keeping faith that neither would let each other down. That moment embodied both of those sentiments, and it was a beautiful thing.

Follow Sleigh Bells on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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