Following up on its sold-out (and webcast) show at NYC's cavernous Terminal 5 Friday, Sleigh Bells moved over to Rockefeller Center the next day to be the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live."
The Brooklyn-based band first performed "Comeback Kid" and then returned with "End of the Line," both off their second album, "Reign of Terror" (out Tuesday). On the SNL performance the contrast between the sweet, poppy voice of singer Alexis Krauss and the distorted, thrashing guitars of Derek Miller and another guitarist who's accompanying them on tour, identified as Jason Boyer in an article in today's New York Times.
[Update, Feb. 20th: a few reviews of "Reign of Terror" have appeared online today, and they're pretty positive. See the writeups by Greg Kot (Sound Opinions, 3 of 4 stars), the L.A. Times' Pop & Hiss (3 of 4 stars), and Consequence of Sound (4.5 out of 5 stars).]
Krauss's voice was sweet enough to front a jangly pop group, and in fact she was in a teen-pop band in the past. In the webcast of Friday's show, the overall sound was rougher and more raucous, with Krauss often shouting rather than singing the songs with the controlled, more delicate vocals in the SNL versions.
No doubt the venue and setting having something to do with that; performing to a large audience at Terminal 5 and being heard over stacks of Marshall amps is a different matter than singing on the SNL sound stage (though the same Marshall amps were present at SNL, it's unclear how many were actually turned on). Personally, I thought the shouting vocal performance was a more complement to the searing guitar of the songs.
To compare the versions, see the video below and the Terminal 5 versions of three other songs at youtube.com/bowerypresents: "Infinite Guitars," "A/B Machines," "Kids," and "Riot Rhythm."