Avant-pop act with Jersey shore roots to slay the House of Blues Saturday.
Opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers isn’t an easy gig for Sleigh Bells. The quirky, young noise-pop duo doesn’t quite jibe with the long of tooth punk-funkateer’s audience.
“Some of the Chili Pepper fans are into what we’re doing and others are looking a little bored but we can’t worry about that,” vocalist Alexis Krauss says while calling from a Brooklyn nail salon hours before performing on the Prudential Center stage in Newark.
“We just have to worry about our music and performance. I know we’re a polarizing band. People either are into what we’re doing or they’re not.”
That’s why Sleigh Bells, who will open for the Chili Peppers Friday (May 11) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and headline the House of Blues at Showboat Saturday (May 12) in Atlantic City, is an act to watch.
The inventive act doesn’t follow trends. The band takes sonic risks by melding the metallic and the melodic courtesy of guitarist Derek Miller and Krauss.
The avant-pop act’s first two albums, 2010’s Treat and Reign of Terror, which dropped in February, are filled with visceral and unpredictable moments. Each track is its own entity. The tandem takes listeners on a sonic roller coaster ride, which is influenced by everything from death metal to Def Leppard.
“We get a lot of crap for citing Queen and arena rock acts for having an impact on us,” Krauss says. “But Derek loves the production job Mutt Lange has done.”
Lange, who has produced AC/DC, Bryan Adams and the aforementioned Def Leppard, has made big-sounding albums filled with arena rock sheen.
“That’s part of the world Derek comes from,” Krauss says. “He also loves the heavy side. He’s our visionary. I’m thrilled to be in a band with him.”
Krauss wasn’t looking to be part of something like Sleigh Bells. She met Miller while she was teaching in the Bronx.
“It was just one of those really fortunate things,” Krauss says.
The soft-spoken Krauss, who grew up in Manasquan, has loved to perform ever since she was coming of age during the ’90s at the Jersey shore.
“I grew up obsessed with musical theater,” Krauss says. “I was so into music and performance.”
The Manasquan High School alum, Krauss, who appeared in a Nickelodeon commercial as a tween, was part of RubyBlue, a sugary sweet pop act, when she was 16. The manufactured act, which smacked of Christina Aguilera meets Britney Spears, didn’t appeal to Krauss.
“I could never be part of something like that,” Krauss says. “If I’m going to make music, it has to be something I’m genuinely into and I have that with Sleigh Bells. We do what we want to do. We’re not looking to see what others are doing. That’s just how it is with us. We don’t pay attention to trends or anything like that. That’s not something that motivates us. What motivates us is making the kind of music we like to make.”
Krauss is looking forward to playing Atlantic City.
“We just flew in from Paris and I’ve forgotten how draining travel can be. The simple act of packing can take something out of you. I’m tired. I don’t know how much people realize that this is such a grind. It’s a rewarding grind but it’s a grind.”
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