Concert Review: Danny Brown & Sleigh Bells – Terminal 5, NYC

Danny Brown Skywlkr

This past Friday and Saturday brought about an interesting combination of recording artists here in New York City, as Danny Brown and Sleigh Bells shared a bill at Terminal 5. While I’ve been a longtime fan of both artists, I had yet to have actually seen either perform live. With that, anticipation was high, and I knew I was in store for a night filled with energy.

Kicking off the night was a fine indie outfit called the Doldrums. Apparently these guys had been touring with Sleigh Bells since October, and they had been driving themselves across the country to each venue. While being familiar with their sound, I can’t claim to be an avid listener. They held their own, though, and did a solid job getting the crowd amped for the main event.

And while Danny Brown wasn’t the headliner, it would be safe to label him as a key figure in the night. As soon as Danny’s DJ and longtime Potholes favorite, Skywlkr took, the stage, it was clear the majority of the audience was here to see the Detroit spitter throw down. One of the many highlights of the night was Skywlkr’s introductory DJ set, which was riddled with AIM notification sounds, Waka Flocka and the deepest of bass.

His set was the perfect primer, making way for Danny’s infectious presence that was felt as soon as he took the stage. With a relatively short time to rock, Brown cut right to the chase and played some of his biggest bruisers. That set list included “Dope Song”, “Smokin & Drinkin”, “Dip”, “Handstand” and more. While I would have loved to have seen him perform some of his more introspective cuts, I understand his main function was to get the audience pumped for the headliner. With that in mind, Brown and Skywlkr were able to deliver in full.

After Danny’s set came to a close, Sleigh Bells had a quick stage setup and wasted no time jumping into their new single, “Minnie”. And before I go any further, let me say I haven’t listened to Sleigh Bells music since their killer debut, Treats. Since then, I’ve heard bits and pieces of tracks and figured I’d prefer to go on keeping that original record at top of mind. With that said, the set list seemed to be compromised mainly of cuts from their most recent two records, Reign of Terror and Bitter Rivals.

Which is fine, I get it. But I know I’m not the only one wishing they played more tracks off Treats. I can’t discount the set list, though, as Alexis Krauss led her band through a heavy selection of tracks that really got the crowd moving. Personal standout performances came during “Crown on the Ground” and “Kids”, which were massively loud in the most beautiful of ways. And not to keep harping on a lack of older material being played that night, but Sleigh Bells also failed to play “Rill Rill”, perhaps one of the best indie cuts to drop back when Treats hit the shelves. Regardless of that, I had an absolutely killer time rocking out to Danny Brown and Sleigh Bells that night. While the two don’t have any more tour dates together as of yet, the heavy-hitting one-two punch made for quite an energetic concert experience.

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