NXNE Review: Sleigh Bells, Autre Ne Veut, Low, June 18

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The cool thing about festivals like NXNE is how you can hop around from genre to genre, experiencing music of all different types and textures within the same night (and sometimes even within the same venue). In keeping with this theme, my first night of NXNE closed out with two bands who could not be more different in terms of not just sound, but onstage presentation.  While Minnesota’s Low kept things fairly low key (pun intended), Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells offered up a much flashier show.  Literally flashier, as the band had a serious light show going on for their late night set at Tattoo.

Yes, Sleigh Bells were the first of the “secret guests” of the festival, though how secret it is when it’s announced well ahead of time is questionable.  Never having seen the band before, and seeing as how I was in the general vicinity for Low’s set at The Horseshoe anyways, I figured it’d be worth a shot. And the band puts on a fairly entertaining show.  Alexis Krauss is an engaging frontwoman who knows how to work a crowd.

On my way to the ’Shoe an hour before Sleigh Bells’ set, I decided to pop in to Tattoo to see what Autre Ne Veut was about and I’ve got to say, despite their ability to get the crowd going, I wasn’t really that into it and so I left after about a song and a half.  I will admit that part of my lack of interest in the band was based on Arthur Ashin’s overalls and backwards  baseball cap combo.  I don’t really get the resurgence of overalls as of late.  Sorry, but it just makes me think of Color Me Badd or something.

As I entered The Horseshoe, Low was in the midst of playing “Holy Ghost,” following that up with “Monkey” off of 2005’s The Great Destroyer.  It occurred to me then that they just played back to back songs that were covered by Mavis Staples and Robert Plant respectively.  That definitely says something about the band’s pedigree as songwriters. They played a selection of songs from throughout their career during their brief set and made me regret missing the first part of the show.

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Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast

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