Back when the A.V. Club Madison was a running concern, and I could turn a quick buck writing concert reviews and play previews, I got asked to write a “Favorite Shows of 2010” thing, and back in 2010, there was one show in particular I remember fondly even now, in 2013: I saw Sleigh Bells open for Yeasayer like 4 days before Treats came out, and in terms of having my balls rocked off by a band, it’s that Sleigh Bells show and everything that came afterwards. It was a transcendent show. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
"My first full year of seeing shows in Madison got off to a slow start, but once it got going in April, it seemed like there was at least one can’t miss band to see each week. But no show was better than the 35 minutes I spent having my chest cavity imploded at the Majestic while watching Sleigh Bells open for Yeasayer. The show was in the few days before the duo’s excellent Treats came out, and while I had heard deliriously loud singles “Kids” and “Crown On The Ground,” I didn’t expect to be quite so sonically assaulted. I spent the band’s set alternately smiling my face off and stepping backwards to try to relieve some of the pressure on my torso. Granted, Yeasayer was terrible—the group confirmed every snarky Rusted Root comparison—but I would gladly pay double to see Sleigh Bells again.”
The thing I think about now, is how irrelevant Sleigh Bells made Yeasayer seem. I was so-so on Yeasayer before that show, and then seeing them after being carpet-bombed by Sleigh Bells just made them seem out of touch, and worst, impossibly lame. Like, how horrible of a opening band for them; they have to follow up “Crown on the Ground” with a bunch of boring ass shit from Odd Blood. They didn’t even try to top them; they just rolled over. I haven’t listened to them at all since.
The only problem with seeing a lot of the songs on Treats live before hearing them on wax is that they never, ever seem loud enough. I’ve listened to this album probably 100 times, and it never can pack enough oomph. I blew out a speaker in my old Saturn listening to this, and even then, rattling windows and blowing up stereo components, it didn’t feel like it did live. This record doesn’t come close. The only time their music felt like it did when I saw them live is when I saw them alive, again, in 2012. I guess that’s probably not good for Sleigh Bells’ record product, but I guess this is an endorsement: see these guys live. Your chest cavity will never be the same.