I woke up this morning with a steady buzzing in my ears and feeling like I got beat up. I guess that means I had a good night. The buzzing/probable loss of hearing I can attribute to Sleigh Bells, the Brooklyn duo that opened up for Yeasayer last night at Neumos. Sleigh Bells’ set was extremely, dangerously loud. At the time, I barely noticed – I couldn’t get over how incredible this band is live. Derek Miller’s hardcore roots are thrillingly obvious from the way he shreds his electric guitar on songs like “Crown on the Ground,” and Alexis Krauss is a born front woman. It’s almost as if Miller wrote these songs and then combined the selected genes of M.I.A., Gwen Stefani, and Joan Jett, creating his own tatted-up perfect lead singer. Krauss has a killer shriek, and on stage, her body anticipates the riffs of Miller’s guitar and flails along with them. This was Sleigh Bells’ first Seattle show, and I hope they come back for more. They even added a song (“Ring Ring”) to their set last minute after I mentioned how much I loved it while interviewing them.
Yeasayer can throw a dance party.
As for the whiplashed feeling in my neck right now, that’s all Yeasayer’s doing. Despite being surrounded by what seemed like half of UW’s Greek Row and one crowd-y bitch who wouldn’t get off my lawn, I got what I came for at this show – a huge, 4/20-loving dance party. Yeasayer’s live show is a well-oiled machine of pop perfection – there are neon flashing lights, a barrage of synthesizers, loopers, vocoders, and pedals; the band’s moves could have been choreographed. And all three members – Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton, and Anand Wilder – can sing. Does that get mentioned a lot when people talk about Yeasayer? If not, it should – the best-sounding moments of their set came when all three were singing in unison. And while some of the more elastic, sentimental songs from Odd Blood, like “I Remember” or “Ambling Alp,” came off a little wobbly, the thumping dance tracks like “O.N.E.” were fantastically energizing and made for a live club setting. Keating has an almost Bowie-like stage presence – he flicks his hands around and plays the crowd, but I have to say he got outplayed by Wilder. That guy’s voice makes all his vocal parts sound like lullabyes, and he’s one of those guitarists whose instruments just seem like an extension of themselves. Plus, he was wearing an orange and green camouflage jumpsuit, and Keating’s jumpsuit was just plain black. They both looked great though.