The minimalist stage was just four Marshall stacks and two strobe lights. Lead singer, Alexis Krauss, wearing her Chicago ‘Bells’ jersey and lava pants jumped across the stage screaming about Canada or Edmonton or trying to sing along with the prerecorded music and backing vocals. Derek E. Miller, possibly played guitar, though since every note was exactly the same as on record, no one will really know. Sleigh Bells live performance is like listening to their debut album, Treats, really loud with a bunch of tall, sweaty, white guys jumping around. It was full of energy, but at only 35 minutes and with little evidence that Sleigh Bells were actually ‘playing’ the songs, it was underwhelming. Luckily, I went in with those expectations, and mostly to hear how loud they could make the concert. I don’t think I suffered any hearing damage, so it wasn’t loud enough!
Best surprise of the evening: Neon Indian. Having listened to Psychic Chasms I didn’t think I’d end up hearing a full band playing dancey-pop music. I was very surprised and look forward to checking out their new album, which they mentioned had just been completed. The only disappointment with their set was that the vocals were mixed way too low and the treble was way too high. It sounded like a lo-fi version of lo-fi music. Neon Indian also played a longer set than Sleigh Bells, maybe they should have been the headliners…
Oberhofer, a Tacoma quartet, opened the show. They got the crowd going and it seemed like they garnered a few fans. Personally, I thought their songs were half excellent, half terrible. Most things I didn’t like came from the Jonas Brother-esque lead singer, Mr. Oberhofer himself, whose vocal style could use some work.
Overall, all three bands seemed to enjoy their concert in Edmonton,and most faults were likely due to the, once again, horrible acoustics of the Starlite Room. It was a loud, bass-heavy, slightly underwhelming, but enjoyable holiday Monday evening down at the Starlite Room.