Any relatively hard-working music reviewer sees a whole lotta live acts in the course of a year. Some are good, some are not. Almost always, their sets are toooooooo lonnnnng (I'm looking at you through sleepy eyes, Teddy Thompson). Nowadays, I have grown so weary of protracted, self-indulgent, noodly sets that, whenever a band clocks in with something short and snappy, I am instantly won over. Even when seeing a group I love, an hour will do for me.
So take a bow, Brooklyn's noise-popsters Sleigh Bells, for being on and off the stage in little over 30 minutes, during which time they treated the sold-out crowd to a performance that was all about the ENERGY. Digital's excellent sound system was worked to breaking point as Derek E. Miller hacked the shit out of his guitar and singer Alexis Krauss hollered down a mic while bouncing around the stage. Coming across like Klaxons-meets-M.I.A., it was loud with a capital LOUD. Ear-bleeding stuff.
To be honest, the length of the set was hardly surprising, with the band only having one long-player, but the way in which they delivered it was relentless and pretty exciting. Okay, so the amount of laptop backing-track to actual live performing was a little disproportionate, but the adrenaline that the duo exuded made up for it as electro bombs with serious rock elements like Kids, Tell 'Em and Riot Rhythms punched a lively audience hard in each ear.
This wasn't a classic gig, nor one for the purists and a longer set would probably have grown pretty tiresome - there isn't a wealth of variety to Sleigh Bells' output after all - but in terms of energy, they were hard to fault on this cold February night in Brighton.
Words and (quite dodgy) pictures (I couldn't get anywhere near the stage) by Rob Townsend