Review: Sleigh Bells at the Ogden, 04/13/12

Categories: Last Night

Sleigh Bells-6.jpg
Eric Gruneisen
Sleigh Bells last night at the Ogden Theatre.


SLEIGH BELLS @ OGDEN THEATRE | 4.13.12

Ever heard of the loudness wars? Doesn't matter. War's over. Sleigh Bells wins. Decisively. Right now, there's a roomful of people banging their heads in unison, in the kind of scene that makes dollar signs appear in the eyes of chiropractors. It's so loud you're compelled to bang your head. Your only other choice is whether or not you want to pump your fist in the air at the same time. It's so loud, in fact, you can feel your nostrils vibrating from the bass. It's a sonic onslaught, a matter of sheer survival. A guy turns to his friend and says, "let me know if you see blood coming out of my ear." The statement is followed by a sublime smile most commonly seen in religious iconography.

Sleigh Bells-4.jpg
Eric Gruneisen
Sleigh Bells last night at the Ogden Theatre.

Related Links:

• Sleigh Bells @ Ogden, 6/11
• Sleigh Bells @ Larimer, 10/10
• Q&A with Derek Miller, 4/12
• Q&A: Derek Miller, 10/10


Sleigh Bells is what would have happened if Rick Rubin had produced Motley Crue in 1984, or Anthrax in '91, using the percussion recipes he cooked up for Run DMC, with accents by someone with a double kick pedal. It's massive drums and deconstructed guitar stabs. Sleigh Bells is the loudest, most headbangingest band playing right now. No contest. But sometimes loud isn't everything.

Sleigh Bells opened its set with "Demons," which immediately sent the already frenetic crowd into total metal meltdown. A skinny kid in a striped sweater and a guy with a mustache almost got into a fight, and the rest of the crowd looks like an idealized metal show from the '80s -- Judas Priest or Megadeth, as seen through the lens of Ice Cube's video for "It was a Good Day."

Sleigh Bells-1.jpg
Eric Gruneisen
Sleigh Bells at the Ogden Theatre last night.

The big, loud opening is almost too much. Krauss's vocals are practically inaudible behind the wall of guitar during "Demons." But once the mix has been remedied, all the hype about their live show begins to make sense. Krauss has the crowd eating out of her palm. She has great stage presence and makes a well-calculated turn as metal diva. Her presence is the perfect balance to the generally reserved (at least by comparison) demeanor of musical conspirator Derek Miller, who crafts the tracks upon which Krauss exerts her feminine wiles.

"Crown on the Ground" and "True Shred Guitar" keep the energy going strong. The problem is that the volume of their show seems like an attempt to mask the lack of chemistry the group has (even with the addition of second guitarist, Jason Boyer). At one point, both guitarists step off stage, leaving only Krauss and a backing track -- but there is no negligible change in the volume or the show. Most of the crowd didn't even notice. Each song is essentially the same as an album cut, but like fifty times louder, and with the added benefit of seeing Krauss bounce and bop around the stage.

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Location Info

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Ogden Theatre

935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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12 comments
Yan
Yan

 It's a really good trick, but there is a giant emptiness at the core - no wonder the 2nd guitarist looked unhappy, how would you feel trying to be a musician in a world of fabricated loudness?

Chen  Meng
Chen Meng

 It's a really good trick, but there is a giant emptiness at the core - no wonder the 2nd guitarist looked unhappy, how would you feel trying to be a musician in a world of fabricated loudness?

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BirthdayPony
BirthdayPony

There were definitely some technical mishaps but I saw a lot of ear-to-ear grins in the crowd.  Adding a drummer?  I don't know why you would want to take part of what makes them special (blow your head in 808's) and convert it into something conventional. 

Chris B
Chris B

Accurate review, but your writing style is terrible.

Andrew
Andrew

Damageplan was THE LOUDEST show ever at the Ogden Theater, hands down!!

Kellen
Kellen

Very good review. I'm glad that it wasn't just more slathering for the Sleigh Bells one trick pony.  It's a really good trick, but there is a giant emptiness at the core - no wonder the 2nd guitarist looked unhappy, how would you feel trying to be a musician in a world of fabricated loudness? Sleigh Bells is fun headbanging, but if they keep their format the ceiling has already been reached.

Brian Frederick
Brian Frederick

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think one of the guitars was out most the entire set / encore. Some chords were definitely missed mid-show and I think Derek Miller took it upon himself to finish the show with Jason Boyer playing just for illusion? I could be mistaken. They didn't look too happy and Miller even kicked the mic down in frustration towards the end (not the whole "I'm rock-n-roll" kick - it was definitely frustration) and Boyer walked off the stage early on the very last song, grabbed a beer and didn't seem the least bit enthused about it.

Patrick Rodgers
Patrick Rodgers

Javelin managed to trigger electronic drums live, and it made the performance more dynamic. I'm not saying Sleigh Bells needs actual drums, but someone triggering the percussion sounds would give their live show more flexibility. 

xrabbitx
xrabbitx

Sorry you were required to actually read.

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