Following up on our own recommendations at Noise Pop 2012

“Ours go to eleven,” a wise man once said. If Sleigh Bells proved anything last night, it was that sheer volume can work miracles.

Anyone who had the misfortune of catching the Brooklyn hard-rock/noise-pop duo on SNL last week knows what the band sounds like at a reasonable, balanced volume: flat. While Alexis Krauss’ don’t-give-a-f*ck attitude manages to own many of the act’s shortcomings with an enviable indifference, songs like “Comeback Kid” just don’t quite work below the 11th degree threshold.

The audience spilled onto Van Ness last night deaf, sweaty and reeling. Sleigh Bells’ set had just clocked in at about fifty minutes, seeming to be over as soon as it started (the band has just about an hour of recorded material, so this is not surprising).

What the performance lacked in duration it made up for in compactness, though. Krauss and her male bandmates doled out their beat-heavy, metal-wrought anthems in one-two-three punches that made the Regency ballroom pulse and glisten. During the Funkadelic-sampling “Rill Rill,” Krauss’ one chance to take a breather, she produced a falsetto like she had something to prove.

If there is one complaint to be made about Sleigh Bells at this point, it is that their sophomore album, Reign of Terror, slumps. Whereas Treats emphasizes melodic, saccharine falsetto and explosive beats, Reign of Terror turns toward moody, thickly-metallic guitars. The sound turned out to be as dull live as it is on the record. When the stoic, plaid-attired guitarists disappeared from the stage during Treats standouts, “Kids” and “Rill Rill,” they were not missed.

At this point in their careers, Krauss and bandmate Derek E. Miller don’t quite have the
substance to pull off a venue like The Regency, but what they lack in that department they make up for in persona and volume.

For their sold-out audience of fist pumping (and, in some cases, pom-pom shaking) fans, turning the dial well past the 10.0 notch was more than enough.

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