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Are you listening?

May 14, 2011

Last night we went to see a “band” called Sleigh Bells at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

They had come recommended, and I’m pretty game for any kind of live music (within reason), so why not?

Well, I’ll tell you why not. This “show” was a fucking travesty.

Let me set the scene. After we catch the end of one of the (perfectly decent) opening acts, they set up the stage for Sleigh Bells. What’s up there is a wall of Marshall amps, extremely cool looking, and two mike stands. No drum kit, no keyboards, no whatever else. Okay, fair enough, the “band” is a duo, chick “singer,” guy “guitar player.” They hit the stage around 10:15 or so, and the crowd is loud and enthusiastic.

They then proceed to launch into a 40 minute — yes, 40 minute — set that consisted of the chick (Alexis Krauss of nearby Manasquan) jumping around and barking out some raspy vocals over — wait for it — the “band’s” records. That’s right, they just played recordings of their songs. At least good ol’ Alexis was energetic and trying to sing along to the recording of herself using an apparently live microphone. What did her cohort Derek Miller manage? He sometimes (but not always) stood onstage with a guitar and sometimes (but not always) pretended to play it. I assure you, no sound from that instrument made it through those lovely-looking amps.

Look, I’m fine with live performances being of different styles and manners. Want to use a DJ, great. Want to use samples and a synthesizer, great. Even if you want to use some kind of backing track, fine. But this is supposed to be live music. Getting on stage for 40 minutes and pretending to play music while your records play is not live music. It’s bullshit.

After we left the Pony, we wandered over to Wonder Bar, which was mercifully empty, paid a $5 cover, and watched a band that I’ve since learned is called “Racin’ Time” and watched two out-of-shape older guys (as one, I can say that) and a kid on the drums, bang out a very enjoyable set of covers. It may not have been inspired shit, but it was real, and it was good, and we left happy.

So fuck Sleigh Bells and their bullshit. Which is a shame, because their songs are pretty good. There’s just no reason to leave your house to hear them. Here’s one of their videos below, and one of somebody who has actually played music at the Stone Pony.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2011 7:49 pm

    What the fuck? How much was the cover? Two words: Milli Vanilli!

    • Fat Al permalink*
      May 15, 2011 8:40 pm

      I think it was like $16 or $18 plus the de riguer $8 “service fee”.

      Milli Vanilli was my very first thought.

      • May 16, 2011 12:57 am

        Was it a schtick? Was it some sort of performance art kind of thing? Was everybody supposed to know that they weren’t playing?

        • Fat Al permalink*
          May 16, 2011 11:35 am

          I don’t think so. I mean, there wasn’t a band, so everyone knew that. But I think the guitar guy was trying (very poorly) to give the impression that he was actually playing.

          • jco permalink
            May 16, 2011 3:24 pm

            He was trying to fake it. It was so dumb. But even worse is that they take this “show” everywhere and no one seems to care that IT ISN’T LIVE MUSIC.


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