Sleigh Bells don’t underwhelm with their live performances. The noise-pop duo made up of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller was a ball of unbridled energy. Speculation as to what kept them running at such high speeds was anyone’s guess.
Onstage at Toronto’s Mod Club, Krauss did most of the immediate work. A whirling free spirit of a lead singer, she belted out lively lyrics as walls of booming guitars and bass created a raucous atmosphere. The highly animated frontwoman wasted no time propelling her exuberant aura, garnering the same reaction from the clamouring fans who never stopped moving and dancing during the set. With no drummer to speak of, pre-programmed sounds of throbbing backbeats were showcased on a high decibel continuum. Rarely did it ever let up, blasting through bodies with attendees unfazed. Guitarist Derek Miller stood stoically beside Krauss, skilfully embodying the role of a sonic bulldozer, helped in part by an unnamed touring axeman. Together, both paced back and forth, intent on hoisting the tunes with a bludgeoning, albeit shimmering trajectory.
By night’s end, the audience was singing along to songs such as Rill Rill and Crown on the Ground with Krauss expertly mixing sugary-sweet vocals with full-throttle screaming. Counterbalancing her stage antics, one can argue that it’s Miller’s disciplined presence that remains the secret ingredient to Sleigh Bells lasting partnership. However, if one thing is certain, it’s that the security of earplugs did little to lessen the walloping bass from the speakers’ onslaught. In the best way possible, the sound of Sleigh Bells’ hefty shredding and dreamy melodies was something many attendees had ringing in their ears for days afterwards.