A live show can be graded on several standards: How did the crowd react? How long did the band play? What songs did they play? How did it all sound?
By a couple of those standards, the Sleigh Bells show Thursday at the Beaumont Club was a rousing success. A large portion of the 600 or so fans in the place had a great time. You could tell by their demonstrative bouncing and dancing as they pumped their fists through the band’s one-hour fusillade of half-live, half-canned electro/industrial/hardcore disco anthems.
As hard and thunderous as it sounded all night, I wondered if the name of the duo of guitarist Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss (plus a second guitarist) might be a clever fusion of Slayer and the AC/DC album “Hell’s Bells.” It was that heavy and loud — loud like the Motorhead show at the Midland a couple of years ago.
The noise whipped the crowd up front into several prolonged dancing fits. A few of those might have been involuntary, prompted by the sheer laws of physics. More than once, the throb of the bass (there was no bass player) softly vibrated the sleeves of my shirt, and I was far back, behind the sound guy.
The diehards seemed to recognize nearly every song they were pounded with, though it was almost impossible to discern the lyrics from Krauss, the duo’s vocalist. She is a dynamo, a banshee in constant motion who stirred and stoked the frenzy on the floor and was adored for it.
When she crowd surfed for a short spell, the place responded as if she’d walked on water. Her voice this evening, however, was just another fuzzy squall buried in the furious din of noise. I did hear her say “Kansas City” a few times. And I caught enough lyrics to say with some confidence that they performed “Crown on the Ground,” “True Shred Guitar,” “Tell ’Em” and “Rill Rill.”
There was a decent light show, one that emanated from behind the stack of Marshall amps at the back of the stage, casting the band mostly as silhouettes. That was appropriate, I suppose, because the way the sound was mixed, the songs felt cast in thick, murky silhouette, too. I was advised to stick in some ear plugs and move up close, where it sounded better, but I stayed where I was.
When the show ended, those up front emerged from the dance pit, shirts sweaty, in various states of exhaustion and glee. Clearly, they didn’t let a detail like the sound mix get in the way of a rousing good time.