I’m starting to wonder how the average person survives. Having been five nights since my last concert, I now understand why some people get bored with life but I will never understand how they become okay with it. I was ready for a show and was super pumped that it was Sleigh Bells– a band that has always left me absolutely speechless each time I see them live.
Kicking off the night was Torres- also known as Mackenzie Scott. Mackenzie was joined onstage by just one other band member that was behind a plethora of keyboards. After a dramatic incense lighting, Torres’ kicked into her set of almost ambient like instrumentation mixed with her hauntingly beautiful voice. Although the set felt a little subdued with the spacey-ness of the music, there was no lack of energy as she performed her opening set. Her voice emitted so much emotion and feeling that, even if Torres’ music wasn’t your thing, you couldn’t help but be captivated by it. In my mind, Torres was a strange opener choice for a band as powerful as Sleigh Bells but if you took away the ambient-ness of the instruments and focused on Mackenzie’s voice, it was clear to see why this worked. Although not as loud and abrasive as the headliner, the power that Mackenzie possessed in her voice and that emotion that radiated off the stage was more than enough reason to have her open the show.
After a quick change over, it was time for Sleigh Bells- a band that I never miss a chance to see live and a band I always urge all of my friends, acquaintances, and even strangers to go see live if given a chance. As the lights went down and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin blasted through the speakers as much needed tribute to the fallen legend, I couldn’t help but feel an escalating level of excitement as I stared into Sleigh Bells’ signature wall of amps that lined the back of the stage. As the nearly sold out audience sang the last few words of “Respect”, the trio blasted onto the stage and I was instantly transported into my happy place.
Sleigh Bells music is a bit hard to describe. Sure, you could call it noise pop but it’s so much more than that. With elements of pop, hip-hop, rock, metal, punk and everything else in between all wrapped up in a bow of endless energy, the fact that you can’t perfectly nail a genre says everything you need to know about this band. Their music is chaotic but it’s a controlled kind of chaos and they have a live show that matches it. With lights whizzing all around and a bass loud enough to make all three of my noise piercing rattle together, Sleigh Bells is just one of those bands that has to be seen live. Sure, their recordings are great and the music is just as intense on recordings but there’s something about adding the light show and the way you literally feel the music that you just don’t get from listening to them on your phone or at home.
With four full lengths, two EPs and a spattering of singles, Sleigh Bells is one of those bands that I have watched grow over the years. I remember the first time they had me captivated with only a thirty minute set and only a handful of songs. It’s hard to believe that just over the span of a couple of years they have gotten to a point where, unless they had a nearly six hour set, I wouldn’t be able to hear everything I wanted to hear. That being said, they did a great job of curating a setlist that a little bit of old, a little new, a little slower and a hell of a lot of energy. Had you walked into last night’s showing knowing nothing about Sleigh Bells or their style, I think you would have walked away so damn confused. Smiling, but confused. Each song had a different style but each song made you want to let loose a little bit and dance. That’s the magic of Sleigh Bells.
Sure, I was beyond stoked when I heard the intro to “A/B Machines” because, I mean, come on, that’s my song. I danced around like a complete idiot and the fact that I did that stone cold sober surprised me but there was just something in the air. This feeling of IDGAF (which stands for ‘I don’t give a fuck’ in case you are in denial of your angsty teenage years) reigned supreme but so did the feeling of fun and safety. It didn’t matter who you were, who you were with, or anything. If you were inside The Fine Line last night there was a smile on your face and your dance shoes were on.
Concerts are meant to be felt, not just watched or listened to. Sleigh Bells is a perfect example of a band that continues to make sure that their live shows are felt and, for that reason, seeing them live will never get old for me.