Sleigh Bells at the Ogden Theatre, 4/13/12 (photos and review)By Kristopher Coe | April 16th, 2012 | No Comments »
On one end of the rock empress continuum, you have Lana Del Rey. Demure sultry tease, platform heels and white satin, writing songs about boyfriends and kissing in the rain. On the other end, you have Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells. Dance-punk impresario in black leather and fishnets, writing songs about gun-wielding renegades and destruction. If Nietzsche was putting together some sort of fantasy All-Star lineup of good vs. evil, he would undoubtedly put them on different squads.
But occasionally, as it was Friday night at the Ogden Theatre; the twisted snarl of evil can be oh so good. With a two-by-six stack of Marshall ModeFour cabinets, three mic stands, two guitars and nothing else but a rowdy enclave — Sleigh Bells unfurled a wrecking ball of decibels and delirium on Denver.
Opening with “Demons,” Krauss was at her theatric best often writhing around onstage like she was being shocked by an electrical current. “Comeback Kid” had the pep rally romper-stomper feel of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” — matched in anthemic intensity by the seismic thrash of Derek Edward Miller’s ’80s guitar heroics. The only complaint of the evening might have been the fact that Krauss’ vocals were often made inaudible do to the low tone rapture of Edward’s distorted haze.
“Straight A’s” and “Tell ‘Em” probably sounded flawless, but they were mired in such an intense volume level that it was just too tough to extrapolate the finer details. Mercifully, the band downshifted into the quieter warm-fuzziness of “Rill Rill” off 2010’s “Treats.” With its reggae skank downbeat, the song was only outmatched by Krauss’ own improvised crowdsurf mid-song. Can you imagine the stoic Lana Del Rey taking that kind of ballsy plunge into the crowd?
Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native, and regular contributor to Reverb.
Jackie Nuxoll is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.