Sleigh Bells @ Le Poisson Rouge, NYC

photo 1The Sleigh Bells show at Le Poisson Rouge on Saturday night was announced exclusively on Twitter, but judging my the sold-out status, it spread far beyond a single tweet. The “secret” nature of the show meant those who did make it in were fans and super-fans, ready to rock out and sing every word.

The doors opened at 11pm, and the opener went on around 11:30. No one seemed to know who he was, but when he dropped beats by hand from a customized table of buttons and soundboards, then started rap/singing, people took notice. He announced himself as Jel, and promptly set the record straight “I’m not a DJ. I don’t have disks. I’m a BJ – button jockey!” He continued to intersperse his electronic songs with humorous interludes that kept the crowd involved. He was best when he added vocals to his tripped “button jockey”-ing. His overall sound was similar to Beck, and seemed to have the same appeal. After Jel, whoever was DJing decided it was time to turn down. Slow, 90’s RnB and girl pop played song-after-song. By 12:45, the crowd was restless and started clapping and chanting. Eventually, Sleigh Bells responded. Lead singer Alexis took to the stage wearing a red hooded cap looking like a champion boxer entering the ring. They played a few new songs with serious guitar shredding. She then announced “This is for everyone who was with us from the beginning”. Alexis shed her cape showing off black denim shorts over lace and a mesh top, looking like a badass rockstar as they launched into “Crown on the Ground”.

Alexis consistently reached out the the crowd, grabbing hands and passing the mic, taking it back to her hardcore roots. The crowd responded by moshing jumping and generally going insane. Her ability to connect to fans was nothing short of transcendent. On slower songs and breakdowns, Alexis reminded us how great her voice really is. The new single “You Don’t Get Me Twice” struck a perfect balance.

They ended the show with Infinity Guitars, which really made everyone go insane. The hook sounded perfect, and Alexis continued to connect and interact with the crowd like the badass she is.

Despite the fact it was 1:30am, the crowd wanted more. The encore was an acoustic take on the new song “Young Legends” which sounded dreamy. The real finale was “Tell Em”, a throwback to their first album. At the very end of the show, Alexis pulled a fan on stage and then started grabbing others. Fans rushed the stage in a moshing mob for a perfect ending.

Sleigh Bells sounds tighter than ever and the additional guitarist/drums/mixer add depth and power to the sound. But its the pop/metal song writing that keeps the fans hungry- as well as the rockstar charisma of Alexis.

Buy the new album Bitter Rivals now.