If you purchase any Sleigh Bells merchandise, you will soon realize that none of their t-shirts or sweatshirts actually say the band’s name. Instead, they choose to replace the word “Sleigh” with “Slay,” a choice that makes more sense after witnessing their live show. That’s because “slay” is precisely what they do.
The duo (with an additional live guitarist in tow) took the stage with power, playing their trademark bubblegum-metal riffs with precision and force. Placed in front of sixteen huge Marshall stacks, the stage set up radiated power as much as the band itself. Music that hits as hard as theirs is always more enjoyable live, and easier to feel in your bones. Having toured the globe in support of their quickly rising career, they have their live show down to a science, which isn’t always a good thing. The tracks were played flawlessly, yet considering it was a hometown show, let alone a free one at a beautiful venue—right on the Hudson River—there was a shocking lack of personality. Aside from their always-fun music, there wasn’t much else going on.
Although their music is exciting live, their show was devoid of any surprises, or eccentricities that usually make a show worth writing home about. The oddly short and encore-free set split material evenly between their two records, and kept the punches coming one after another. For a band that has such a strong ‘bad-ass’ image they uphold quite well, such a cookie-cutter-like set was unexpected.
About midway through the set, singer Alexis Krauss attempted a stage dive, only to be dropped a few seconds later by her adoring fans. Despite Krauss’s tumble, it’s easy to predict that the band won’t be falling in popularity any time soon. Returning to their hometown, four years after their formation and with plenty of success under their belts, Sleigh Bells were simply doing a victory lap.