Sleigh Bells w/ Javelin @ The Depot 04.12
As I rolled up to The Depot on Thursday evening, I’ll admit that I felt a pang of jealously towards the 21-and-under crowd that was rolling into the formerly 21+-only venue. I took inventory of all the shows I’d missed out on before The Depot adopted similar rules to Salt Lake’s In the Venue—cramming the under-agers in on the ground level near the stage, and letting the 21+ crowd hang out on the balcony, away from the raging hormones and with a stocked bar of slightly overpriced drinks nearby.
As I made my way to a spot on the balcony, the Brooklyn duo known as Javelin was setting up. Within a few songs, it seemed as if this two-man 8-bit “band” was suffering from an identity crisis, but the kids on the floor seemed to be falling in love. Their banter between songs was minimal, but the few words they did say didn’t make them any more intriguing. “This is a song about staying up all night playing video games,” and “I wrote this song about being in middle school,” just don’t strike a chord with me—especially considering that these two dudes are in their late 20s. Admittedly, I spent most of time wondering why in the hell The Depot had turned the venue’s two jumbo screens on for these clowns. Their set ended, I refilled my beer and waited patiently for Sleigh Bells to take the stage.
Around 9:45 p.m. the room went dark and the hype for the headlining act began. Peering over the balcony, I was surprised at how many more people had crammed their way onto the floor of the venue. When I saw Sleigh Bells perform at Urban Lounge in fall of 2010, it was at capacity, but the turnout at this all-ages show was wild. After nearly ten minutes of hype, a red glow illuminated the 12 massive Marshalls at the back of the stage. Moments later, not one, but two guitar players emerged on the dark stage before being followed by the tiny, raven-haired Alexis Krauss who was rocking a pair of white Keds, cut off denim shorts and a super tough leather motorcycle jacket, which was discarded by the side of the stage after only one song.
For the next hour, Krauss mesmerized the massive crowd, performing like a spastic cheerleader as she pranced around the stage, shook her hair and occasionally pulled out some high kicks to punctuate the gunshot beats and crushing guitar riffs. The three members of Sleigh Bells remained minimally lit throughout the set, and much to my relief, the cheesy jumbo screens had been powered off, but the lack of lights did nothing to mask the energy. The guitars and looped drumbeats created an epic backdrop for Krauss’ breathy but sugary sweet voice to creep through like a ghost. The majority of their set came from their debut album Treats, with some of my favorite moments coming with performances of “Infinity Guitars,” “Kids,” “Crown on the Ground” and of course, everyone’s favorite overexposed and overplayed song, “Rill Rill,” which Krauss performed without the backing guitarists.
After “Rill Rill” came to a close Krauss exited the stage before being screamed back by the rabid crowd with chants of “one more song.” Not wanting to disappoint, Sleigh Bells made their way back to the dark stage to perform a three-song encore. The hip-shaking Krauss wasted no time in pleasing her fans by hopping down from the stage and strutting through the barrier that separated her from the masses. She then asked the crowd if they’d carry her, then launched herself into them to crowd surf for nearly half a song. If the underage boys near the stage weren’t already bubbling over with hormones, this did them in. Krauss is an impressive performer with infectious energy and was easily the spectacle of the night. If their Depot performance was any indication, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sleight Bell’s next Salt Lake City stop finds them filling a venue much larger than The Depot.