Monday, May 9, 2011

Sleigh Bells, CSS, Mr. Dream, and Wet Witch: Live At The 9:30 Club

At around 7:00 P.M. last Saturday, the 9:30 Club had a line of people waiting outside the venue.  A group of all ages and buzzing with excitement.  Some wore neon outfits complete with matching headbands, while others took the term "hipster" to a new level.  They were all waiting for a night of frenzy.  Sleigh Bells and CSS were in DC for a sold out night of their co-headlining tour and they brought along Mr. Dream and Wet Witch for good measure.  Once the doors to the venue opened at 8:00, everyone rushed towards the stage for a good spot.  I settled down somewhere between the first and second row and was advised by an obviously concert savvy girl to keep a steady hold on my spot because, "It's gonna get crazy."

The show kicked off with Wet Witch at around 8:30.  Most of the crowd had no idea what to expect from them, so when the band's first song was an intense blast of noise, hands instinctively covered ears.  Wet Witch is a trio consisting of a guitarist, drummer, and vocalist.  The vocals were harsh while the drums shattered the room.  After the initial impact of the first song, the crowd loosened up. By the end of their set, there were mixed reactions.  Some were anxious and now noticeably pumped for the night to go on, while others got their ear plugs ready.  Wet Witch gave the club a good taste of what the mood would be like for the rest of the night, full of energy.

After a short set change, Mr. Dream prepared to take the stage.  The drum kit was moved to center stage with each vocalist on either side.  They started with one of my favorites, "Knuckle Sandwich".  The crowd warmed up to their sound much quicker than the previous band.  "Winners" caused every head in the pit to nod with perfect timing.  The combination of heavy rock numbers and lighter songs with sing-along melodies definitely turned some heads.  The bounce of "Knick Knack" under the dark red lights had me singing along all the way until the final note.  Their set seemed significantly longer than Wet Witch's quick spree and it ended with screams of "Mr. Dream!".

Once Mr. Dream left the stage, there was a decent wait until CSS would come out.  Although the majority of the audience was there to see Sleigh Bells, everyone was more than ready for CSS.  The entire venue roared when the lights went down.  Once CSS' Lovefoxxx ran onstage, the night changed completely.  She controlled the room with her wild antics, which included running through the crowd, spraying the room with everything she drank, and shedding her clothing.  When the opening beat of "Music Is My Hot Hot Sex" hit the air halfway through their set, everyone that wasn't already a CSS fan before the show was now converted.  Dance breakdowns during "Move" kept the night going at full speed.  The highlight moment of "Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above" transitioning into "Alala" topped off their set.  CSS had transformed a rock show into a dance party.

It was around 11:30 by the time CSS ended their set.  Sleigh Bells wasn't scheduled to take the stage until midnight.  This meant a long and restless wait was inevitable.  While many of the concert-goers wore CSS shirts, and some discovered new favorites in Wet Witch and Mr. Dream, it was clear that Sleigh Bells attracted almost everyone to the show.  The guitar amps, which took the shape of the giant wall, were pushed out closer to the edge of the stage.  The lights went out and after the first beat of the duo's "Iron Man" intro, the entire pit rushed forward causing the front rows to fall against the railing.  The now neon lights blinded the crowd.  Sleigh Bells had taken the night to another level.  Every strobe light was brighter and every noise was louder.  The crowd recited perfect lyrics back to Alexis Krauss, who donned a "SLAY BELLS" jersey over reflective and splattered leggings.  "Infinity Guitars" and "Rill Rill" were the crowd favorites.  Alexis surfed the pit, while guitarist Derek Miller sat on the rail during "Holly".

Sleigh Bells ended the night with a riot inducing rendition of "A/B Machines".  The back of the room surfed its way to the front.  People were thrown onto each other.  It was exactly how their music felt like it should be, chaotic and fun.  They played a fairly short set, about forty minutes which included almost every song that they had.  That didn't stop a group chant of "Sleigh Bells!" once the band left the stage.

The girl who told me to be ready for a crazy time was one hundred percent correct.  The concert, which let out at around 12:45, was explosive.  The glazed eyes and wide smiles were appropriate measurements of how hard the 9:30 Club was hit.  Each band played a completely different genre of music, but it only makes sense that they tour together since it was the raw energy that they all had in common.

Keep reading for more pictures of the show...

Many thanks to Nick Sylvester, Adam Moerder, and Matt Morello of Mr. Dream for an amazing show.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds great. Not surprising that a crowd that size got so into music like that ;)