“Holy shit I can’t believe I’m actually about to see Sleigh Bells. What have I even done to deserve this?”
An excited fan behind me echoed a sentiment shared by many at The Metro on Tuesday night, as Sleigh Bells brought their Jessica Rabbit tour through Chicago.
Flint, Michigan native Tunde Olaniran opened the night with a set of uncategorizable, dangerously fun pop bangers. His music blends electronic/trap style production with addicting sample loops. When it comes to vocals, Tunde gets even more versatile, switching between pitch-perfect high notes to impeccably flowing raps. His performance matched the excitement in his music as he showed off his choreography skills with two other dancers on stage and got the crowd jumping with him. If you weren’t already familiar with Tunde Olaniran before this opening set, it was nearly impossible to resist becoming a fan by the end.
Four albums deep into their career, Sleigh Bells have amassed an arsenal of tracks designed to make a crowd go insane. Alexis Krauss (vocals) and Derek Miller (guitar) share an effortless flow on stage that could only be the result 0f working together for nearly a decade. Although their sound continues to evolve, the noisy, overdriven force that lives at the core of every Sleigh Bells song gets amplified even more when they play live. Every guitar riff sounded more menacing and every beat more vivid.
They kicked off the set with “Unlimited Dark Paths,” a dramatically structured yet rewarding cut off of their latest LP. Right after, they took things back to one of their earliest songs, “Tell ‘Em”. Strobe lights flashed all around the stage to match the thunderous first notes, building in layers as Krauss’ vocals joined in the storm. Even though this might’ve been an older song, it felt like I was hearing it for the first time again.
As they continued through some of the highlights off of Jessica Rabbit, mixing in material from previous albums throughout, Sleigh Bells’ energetic presence remained peaked the whole night. For “Crown On The Ground”, Alexis dove into the crowd for a moment as Derek launched into a solo. The set appeared to be winding down, but Sleigh Bells quickly came back on stage to perform 3 encore songs.
The noise-pop duo that used to get labeled as just another buzz band has now delivered four albums, each new release building off of the last, and they continue to pack venues in cities they’ve visited 4 or 5 times before. If this performance proved anything about Sleigh Bells, it’s that they will definitely be back in Chicago again.