Firestone Live, Orlando, FL • April 28, 2011
In the modern age of dance music, bands like Sleigh Bells teach us that you don’t need many bodies or many instruments to slay a crowd with butt-bumpin’ grooves. A chick with a microphone, a dude with a guitar, and backing tracks spewed out through a giant wall of Marshall stacks is, surprisingly, more than enough to wet the floor of the Firestone Live with the sweat of several hundred amateur dancers.
While minimal is the motto for the evening’s closers, co-headliners CSS (short for Cansei de Ser Sexy) subscribe to the “more the merrier” campaign. With six people on the stage and about twice as many instruments, the music could easily have become jumbled, but instead the Brazilian troupe nailed down absurdly fun party music that was like Peaches without the shock value – but no less humorous (song titles include “Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex,” and “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above”).
Front woman Lovefoxxx is both funny (as when she jokes that the group “started the band as a way to get free drinks every night”) and flexible – frequently doing back bends and other spine-aching twists and turns. It’s her colorful presence, makeup, and clothing that balances out the cool stillness of the rest of the band. She topped off an already cheer-inducing set by crowd surfing her way across the room, and unlike an anonymous kid stage diving into hands that drop him, the Orlando fans were tripping over themselves to get their hands beneath the petite Brazilian singer.
Too often an audience is too cool, too self-conscious, or too busy videoing the show on their fancy phones to let down their guard and dance. Not so tonight. Not only were the fans dancing, but some of ‘em were doing so in such a way that it added even more entertainment value to the night. What do you call a dance move that mimics the moves of a bowler? I call it awesome! Almost as awesome as watching Alexis Krauss, Sleigh Bells’ singer, bump and thrash herself along the lip of the stage while tongue tumbling her way through some seriously sexy, crunchy noise pop.
The song list was, essentially, the band’s sole full-length release Treats set to random – which meant a mere 45 minutes of face time. With no time wasted, Krauss and shredder Derek E. Miller (who previously did time playing guitar in metalcore band Poison the Well) upstaged the pulsating prerecorded bass and beats, making up for the lack of a live drummer with their sheer energy. The songs “Tell ‘em” and “Infinity Guitars” are such perfectly constructed firecrackers even without the benefit of having them performed live, that when wrapped up with the here and now package of Krauss and Miller, they positively explode.
They both jumped closer to the crowd by hopping onto the boxes that served as a barricade, and this – rather than idle chatter – was the pair’s chosen form of communication with the room. Why talk when you can just shove the music right into the fans’ faces? Sprayed sweat speaks louder than sound bites.
At set’s end the demand for an encore was great enough to not only overrule the venue’s house music (it was Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through the Night”) but to inspire a rare a capella performance of “Run the Heart.”
“We never do this,” a solo Kruass confessed before quietly lullabying us all good night, while seated with her legs dangling off the stage’s edge.
And with no more songs for the band to pull out of their back pockets, the house music cued up once again and a roomful of satisfied revelers spilled out onto Orange Ave. in search of the next party.