Brevity can be a good thing. While Sleigh Bells only played for about an hour last night at the House of Blues, the Brooklyn, New York-based band left more of an impression than many bands that play twice as long. The group, which had previously only played the much smaller Grog Shop (something singer Alexis Krauss acknowledged during the show when she mentioned those performances and thanked the city for showing “so much love” in the past), clearly benefitted from the larger stage, even if it meant that Krauss was a bit further away from her adoring fans. In fact, at least twice during the show, she leaned to the edge of the stage and then did an old-fashioned stage dive, asking patrons to “be nice” as she let them toss her around like a rag doll until bouncers could pluck her out of the pit and bring her back onto the stage.
Sleigh Bells’ two full-length albums — 2010’s Treats and this year’s Reign of Terror — are noisy collages of electric guitars and pre-recorded beats that sound like the Cocteau Twins on steroids. Krauss delivers her lyrics, which she alternately whispers and screams, with all the attitude of a rapper, something that was clear during last night’s performance as she whirled across the stage and pranced with an undeniable swagger. Flanked by two guitarists who had a wall of Marshall amps behind them, Krauss delivered new tracks such as “True Shred Guitar,” “Born to Lose” and “Comeback Kid” before ending the set with Treats’ melodic “Rill Rill.” While the crowd was exuberant throughout, Krauss helped orchestrate things, encouraging fans to clap along to get “Infinity Guitars” started and telling fans, “C’mon Cleveland, this is your time.” The blinding strobes that flashed throughout the concert only accentuated the manic, punk-like energy of the performance. Given the band’s incredible burst of energy, no one coming out of the concert seemed to mind the short set time.