Sleigh Bells Slays The Fine Line


It was a busy Saturday of doing my maid of honor duty of creating centerpieces for my ride-or-die best friend. It was fun but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved that I could pull my typical “So sorry, I have a show!” phrase to head out a bit early. Sure, I kind of felt bad that it didn’t all get done but there was a show in town on Saturday that I just wasn’t willing to miss, and, thankfully, this friend has known me long enough to know that when I say I have to be at the show, she doesn’t question it.

I got into the hot and humid Fine Line just in time to catch opening act Moodie Black take the stage. I was instantly enamored by this group. The trio had this very noise-styled rap vibe to them that was electrifying. Add their truly spectacular visual performance and you were left with a performance that was truly hard to turn away from. I loved the way that you never really got a good look at the vocalist (who I can not find a name for and I am so sorry) because the majority of the set was spent with them as just a silhouette in front of a screen that was playing all sorts of clips. There were political moments throughout the set both in the video and with what was being said into the microphone which made the set feel a bit heavy at times but it always recovered into just a downright powerful show of emotion and talent. Overall, the set was visually insane and musically chaotic in all of the right ways and it absolutely set the stage for what was to come from the following two acts.

Denver-based N3ptune and his best friend and guitarist Rusty Steve were up next and I really don’t even know how to put their set into words. I always post photos of all of the bands I see on my socials and although my phone camera kind of sucks, I always try to get a photo where you can kind of see something. I gave up on getting a good shot of N3ptune partly because it seemed damn near impossible but also because I didn’t want to miss a single second of his set. There was something completely captivating about N3ptune from his long black and white dreadlocks that whipped around the stage throughout his set to his absolutely stunning voice– I’m pretty sure I looked like an idiot throughout his set as my jaw was on the ground and I refused to blink. His voice– where do I even begin? The range of this human is something to be envied and something that seemingly comes so effortlessly to him. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, from dazzling runs of notes to intense rap portions of the tracks, every word came through crystal clear and with an undeniable sense of talent. This takes me to probably the biggest takeaway from N3ptune’s set– the music. His style blends everything from pop to hip-hop to electronica with a soulful voice and a sense of almost gospel in the tone. Musically and visually, the show was all over the place and it was going all of the right places. The dancing– oh lord, the dancing. This guy was all over the place. I’m pretty sure there were some death drops and maybe a splits at a point (although it was a packed show and I couldn’t see everything happening). N3ptune just couldn’t stand still and it left the entire packed audience feeling completely satisfied and absolutely in awe of just what happened. If N3ptune ever comes to your area, drop everything and check it out. Seriously.

I honestly felt bad that Sleigh Bells had to follow up N3ptune’s set but, having seen Sleigh Bells a few times, I knew they would be able to hold their own on such a strong bill and that’s exactly what they did. Hailing from New York, Sleigh Bells is vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek E. Miller (of Poison the Well fame). The touring members of the band also deserve a mention before I move on. The drummer absolutely killed it with a sense of fury and perfection while Katie Steinberg did an absolutely flawless job with secondary vocals and keys. Sleigh Bells walked out onto the stage and instantly jumped into “Justine Go Genesis” which made the audience go from just trying to stay cool as it felt hotter than hell in the intimate space to not caring about anything and turning into a sweaty mess of movement. It was perfect and exactly what I would expect from a Sleigh Bells show.

As mentioned, I have seen this band a few times before and have always been floored by their energy. Saturday night’s performance was no different. Although I adore this band, I definitely fell off the train a few albums ago and was unable to sing along to every song throughout the set but that didn’t stop me from moving along to all of them. That’s the best thing about this band– their music. It’s infectious. And even though you may not know every track and be able to sing to every song, every track from this band is genuinely theirs and is easy to fall in love with. The beats make you move and you can literally feel them in your heart when they are performed live. I honestly don’t know how a human could possibly just stand through a Sleigh Bells show without at least a head nod or a few jumps thrown in there. The amount of power that comes from the guitars, drums, and keys is deafening. Add Alexis’ powerful yet sweet-sounding vocals and you have a sound that is unlike anything else out there and is absolutely perfect.

Their sixteen-song set flew by and I would be lying if I said I was completely satisfied with the hour-long set but I absolutely had an amazing time. I feel like they definitely could have played longer but, with a band like Sleigh Bells and the amount of power they bring to a stage, I don’t know if any amount of time would have been enough for me.