Let’s get this out of the way now, yeah I didn’t see the Cure. I had my own reasons for this, mainly I find them boring as sin. But I didn’t watch Sleigh Bells thinking about the Cure, so I’m not going to write this review with any intention of comparison to their main stage rivals.
Sleigh Bells bring the bass. I mean this in the most explicit, violent way possible, they seriously do. I’ve never felt my ribcage quake so much like I did on Friday night, even with “Loudest Bass at Reading” Odd Future in the running. The tent just shook, there was a few problems with the drum track (something they can avoid in the future if they actually get a real drummer) but for the most part Sleigh Bells pumped the tent pretty savagely.
Alexis Krauss is also a fantastic front woman. She’s a lollipop with gum in the middle. Hard as nails on the outside, spiked leather jacket inclusive, but she’s a dancing, sweet singing girly girl on the inside, as her flowing and dreamy vocals in Comeback Kid demonstrate. The perfect example of this juxtaposition? In the middle of the set, she started giving these harsh, shrill dive-bomb vocals, then a true death metal growl straight down the mic, dropping jaws to the floor across the tent. She then followed this up with the girliest giggle I think I’ve ever heard. It was brilliant, and it personified Sleigh Bells for me personally.
Let’s not focus too much on Alexis though (or have I already?), as the performance as a whole was spot on all round. The Marshall stacks created a huge soundscape that no one could escape from, the crowd bellowed every word of Krauss’ back at her, bouncing, swaying, and moshing. Perfect to close off the first night of chaos from Reading Festival. William Sorenson