The 9:30 Club
In the past two months, Sleigh Bells has graced the pages of GQ and performed on “Saturday Night Live” – two clear indicators the pop-electro rockers have truly made it. Some call them noise-pop, some nu metal and some say they’re just loud, but it’s clear the duo has a good thing going. Comprised of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Derek Edward Miller and songwriter-vocalist Alexis Krauss, Sleigh Bells produces infectious beats and riff-driven tunes that hit the scene hard this winter. The group’s most recent effort, “Reign of Terror” is a unique album. Many of the songs essentially have no chorus, making it a bit difficult to sing along, but the group’s upbeat style is perfect for letting loose. Sleigh Bells’ live shows are even more intense than their albums, with stacks of Marshall amps dominating the stage and Krauss tearing it up in her trademark white Keds. If you’re trying to have a wild night filled with dancing and screaming followed by temporary hearing loss, this is the show for you.
Score: They’re just wild. Expect to dance your face off and have an amazing time doing it.
Bore: No one has any idea what they are saying. This is definitely not a concert where you can sing along. Also, it’s going to get sweaty.
Of Monsters and Men
They’re folk rockers from Iceland; that alone is awesome. Then you hear the music. The lush blend of instruments has a percussive drive to it, with a combination of vocalists that led the group to win the national Icelandic battle of the bands in 2010. Drawing comparisons to Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire, the six-piece group is the darlings of the NPR crowd. With a homey and friendly look that is simply welcoming, Of Monsters and Men makes you feel like the music was written for you to enjoy it in that moment – a special feeling in today’s world of overproduced jams. The show is sold out, but you should be able to score some tickets on Craigslist.
Score: Icelandic folk rock – really, what more can you say?
Bore: Aside from “Little Talks,” the album hasn’t really made waves.
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
The 8×10 in Baltimore
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers is one of the most dedicated touring bands around. End of discussion. The group has played more than 1,000 shows on the road and the combined sum of the members’ released albums is over 20. This live show is second to none – filled with humor, wonderful anecdotes and more importantly, timeless music that is honest and soulful. The group released its most recent album, “Gift Horse,” last October, and it’s a disc that was made for small, intimate rooms. Kellogg’s lyrics are intensely personal, dealing with love, loss, the highest highs and the deepest lows. From attending many of the group’s shows, I can attest to the power of intimacy. This is a show you won’t want to miss.
Score: Professionals with the heart to back it up. The little band that could is at it again.
Bore: The group’s older work is even more beautiful. It will be a shame if they don’t play it.