Sleigh Bells on SNL

A day after broadcasting their sold out NYC T5 show on YouTube, Sleigh Bells brought their Marshall stacks and tourist guitarist Jason Boyer to the considerably more intimate SNL studios across town. They played Reign Of Terror’s raucous first single “Comeback Kid” and No Doubt-y ballad “End Of The Line” and you can watch both below. But first, the sketch in which Jay-Z and Beyoncé (played by Jay Pharoah and host Maya Rudolph) welcome music stars like Prince, Nicki Minaj, and Taylor Swift to meet Blue Ivy; it ends with Justin Timberlake impersonating Bon Iver with a soporific version of “Holocene.”

Jay-Z And Beyonce’s Baby

Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line”

Justin liked it:

SNL returns live 3/3 with host Lindsay Lohan and musical guest Jack White.

Comments (92)
  1. Completely awesome on all counts. more jay pharaoh-z pls!!!

  2. I felt more uncomfortable watching them perform than they looked performing. I’m confused by the success of this band. Good for them.

  3. Looks like Alexis got those blood stains out of her Keds.

  4. Would it kill the SNL sound guy to ever mix a band to sound like the fucking band normally? That’s what I love about Sleigh Bells on record and live, the low, subtle guitar sound.

    • Would it kill people to stop posting a variation on this comment every week?

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • My point is: Good mix.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • crabtron  |   Posted on Feb 19th, 2012 +3

            You spelled “cool” wrong.

          • Someone needs a nap

          • Precisely. Sleigh Bells make me sleepy. Sooooo Booooooring.

          • I can’t believe how many downvotes I’m getting. Love love love bands where one member is an iPod. It’s always so hard to find someone to play drums, there are hardly any anymore.

          • You gotta pick your battles, djfreshie. Look at me, I personally don’t get what deal is with people liking Bon Iver, and I live in Brooklyn. If anyone is predisposed to like Bon Iver it’s some brooklyn hipster. But I have the sense to keep my mouth shut about it on the stereogum threads.

          • I don’t know man… I live in Brooklyn and I don’t know anyone who likes Bon Iver.

          • But.. My buddy who lives in Chicago and works for a hedge fund LOVES Bon Iver. As does everyone at his office I’m told.


          • I dare. Good songs, terrible performer.

            Sleigh Bells is the same way. On record, sure, nice songs. In performance – kind of pathetic.
            Remember Karmin from last week? Awful right? Well I don’t see the difference between Sleigh Bells and Karmin. Both are very “look at me, look what I’m doing” except Karmin can actually sing.

            Someone explain to me the difference between this stuff and Avril Levigne.

          • Freshie, i love you but this face :O is me right now. :O :O :O
            Comparison to Karmin? This is virulent!! Why?

            -D. <3

          • Don’t know what more to say, DT – pre-programmed beats are for open-mic nights.

            Got a gig on national TV? Bring a drummer and keyboard player on stage, ya losers.

            I’m surprised you were more offended by the Karmin than the Avril levigne comparison. Boy, some peeps just hate Karmin! (myself included, and for admittedly infantile reasons)

          • crabtron  |   Posted on Feb 20th, 2012 +1

            Sorry, I’ll try and restrict those types of comments to brooklyn vegan, where they belong.

          • Quite a rant for someone who admits in the same thread that the band has “nice songs.”

          • Yeah, pre-programmed beats are for open mic nights. And Daft Punk, but whatever. Everyone knows that anyone who chooses a drum track over an actual drummer does so out of sheer laziness and it is impossible to have an esthetic intention behind it.
            Also totally overrated? The idea of having fun.

          • 1. Not really that big of a rant
            2. Songs can sound good on a record because of good production, I don’t know why I can’t enjoy songs on a recording while thinking a band or artist is also shit. This is to a certain extent, a pop music blog. I mean, hellllo Lana Del Ray. Nice-ish songs. Terribly mediocre, if not borderline lousy performer.
            3. Daft Punk does not play off an iPod, cecilpark, come on you know very well there is a difference.

      • I’m trying to help you out DJ Freshman, but by the time I give you an upvote to balance you out, there have already been more downvotes since I loaded the page. It’s an avalanche!

        Oh, and please don’t hurt me Sleigh Bell fans! I think Sleigh Bells are awesome, Freshn is just a friend of mine!

        • Well, if it gives me a lowest comment of the week award I’ll take it. Especially for an opinion that I pretty much stand behind proudly. No iPod bands. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. That is a direction I never want to see pop music, rock music, electronic music, any music, ever go.

          Laptops, drum machines, gameboys…whatever. I love going to see groups that use unorthodox instruments to make noise. It is awesome. And hey, if you have an old Yamaha keyboard with a hilarious demo, go ahead and play the preset demo and then sample it and bitcrush it and do whatever with it. Some preprogramming is accetable if you’re going to do cool stuff with it.

          Conversely, if you plug in an iPod and press play and then play to full drum track, then you are doing karaoke drums. Boo. Urns. Downvote all you like, everyone.

          • what about most rappers? often, there are no instruments. What about kanye on snl, arguably one of the better SNL performances of all time. other than the MPC for runaway, there was no live instrumentation…

          • If you’re an MC, you need a DJ or someone creating beats for you. If Kanye was live-programming into his machine (and I’m dubious that a lot of what was in there wasn’t already programmed and he wasn’t sort of faking it) that’s totally acceptable.

            The thing is, is that making beats sound good live, takes a lot of precision and focus. You can’t just meander around and hit a button and make it work like that unless you have some seriously magical quantization. My guess is that he was just hitting fake buttons and the real beats were coming from off-stage. Prop? I’m just guessing here. I’m pretty cynical about what goes on on stage sometimes, but I could be wrong.

            Anyways, I don’t think Kanye is a very good performer either. Love his records, but I would never shell out money to see him autoraptune.

          • “Laptops, drum machines, gameboys…whatever.”

            This made me think of Fuck Buttons.

            I fucking love Fuck Buttons.

          • Do you know Holy Fuck at all? They’re a toronto band, they crack out and loop all sorts of old school devices. They get mistaken for Fuck Buttons all the time – That’s who i was referring to with the yahoo keyboard remark…I used to own this terrible terrible synth when I was in high school and it had a hilarious demo on it. Holy Fuck samples it in one of their tunes, Royal Gregory I believe. Worth checking out. Very good stuff.

    • subtle guitar? perhaps that would have helped.. well… umm… no they just actually suck “unplugged” . Why would they agree to go on SNL? She can barely hold a note, but she sure has breath!! That’s all I hear. I giver her two months before she loses her voice, if she keeps that up!

  5. Yeah, this may have been soundguy mixing, but I was underwhelmed to say the least. I’m not really feeling this whole bubble-gum-pop-and-”slashing-guitars” thing or the quest to be the loudest (pop?) band around, so I’ll just live with my Zoo album thank you.

    The band doesn’t really have much to offer by way of songwriting or, well, purpose.

    • In comparison to other indie-minded musicians who took the stage this year, I didn’t think Sleigh Bells sounded all that bad. The fact they only had two guitars and a mic up there was to their benefit. Speaking of those guitars, I’m really digging the bottom half of the LP. It sounds like they’ve taken gone-too-soon shoegazers The Depreciation Guild’s guitar tunings for their own.

      And yes, at the end of the day, Zoo will fill all voids.

  6. man that skit was better than it had any right to be.

  7. Glad they played “End of the Line.” That one’s really grown on me in the past week.

  8. “I don’t know but white butler is really into it…”

    That killed me.

  9. Usually I don’t get the criticisms of SNL’s sound mixing, but it really killed that Sleigh Bells performance. It took the best, most striking thing about their sound, the sheer LOUDNESS of it, and completely nullified it.

  10. Bon Iver: “I wrote a song for your baby.”

    Beyonce: “Oh, but we were just about to put her to sleep.”

    BI: “Trust me. This will help.”

    I lost it right there.

  11. Yeah, I agree with the other posters, why is the sound on the guitar so low? Good performance nonetheless

  12. The vocals are supposed to be drowned in sound, the mix is pretty bad. Oh well, at least Alexis did a great job.

  13. Sleigh Bells sound novel for a couple listens on record, but not surprisingly, the karaoke aspect doesn’t really translate well live. Not my cup of tea.

    • While I don’t think their sound translated well on live television or through laptop speakers, it is an entirely different experience at a live show. Their live sound (minus the percussion) translates extremely well.

      • maybe I saw them on a bad day, but when i saw them live, it didn’t sound good. all the prerecorded stuff just didn’t jive with their performances, that’s right, Jive. it was kinda phoned in, their was no energy despite the volume.

          • I saw them a little under a year ago. The guitar and vocals were really well mixed after the opening song or two. I was disappointed with the prerecorded drums. After leaving, I distinctly remember thinking, that was a well executed show but I hope they get a touring drummer soon. From what I can tell, things are pretty similar now.

  14. Taylor Swift was so accurate. Every time she wins an award she acts exactly like that. Annoying.


  15. Taylor Swift was accurate. She acts like that every time she wins an award. Annoying.

  16. that was a great overall episode. i loved the brad pitt impression too, but the “bonnie bear” by JT was killer. that opening sketch about jeremy lin cracked me up too.

  17. that was JT’s best impersonation ever, killed it haha.

    • That sketch made me realize that a bearded dude with a comb over singing falsetto is the most ridiculous thing ever.

      • really, it took THAT to shine the light? hahahahaha. that’s the best part of impressions and SNL, you can homage the people you love and you can politely destroy those who you think came upon fame via non justifiable means:)

  18. btw who had that ‘try to copy Uma on Pulp Fiction’ haircut first, this chick or that horrible Jessie J? yuck to both of em.

  19. alexis actually sounded really good to me, at least on comeback kid (didn’t watch the second)

  20. I have to say that I wasn’t that impressed by Comeback Kid but having spun the album 6 times today in the van, I’ve decided that it’s my least favourite track on another awesome record. They’re one of those bands where I can totally understand people not being into them but this will be with Youth Lagoon and St Vincent in my CD player for a while yet.

  21. I feel like Sleigh Bell’s image is far outpacing their sound. know what I mean? I like the Idea of Sleigh Bells, not a big fan of the execution.

  22. Also, maybe only one denim jacket onstage at a time? just me?

  23. Gah! Too many words!

    I have but one:


  24. fuck sleigh bells. worst band ever.

    oh they’re ‘loud’?
    so what?
    so are my landlord’s morning shits.

    when it’s more about image than actual music, the whole thing becomes null and void.

  25. The dude who did Brad Pitt was the best. He also nailed Michael Cera last week or whenever. I look forward to more of that guy.

    Sleigh Bells’ stack of amps really made me laugh because their sound is like a kitten meowing. The last time I saw a band with a stack of amps was Jucifer. And they needed it.

  26. “Although anyone with an eye and an ear can tell that Alexis Krauss is unashamed to bite everything that makes Alice Glass, Alice Glass.”

  27. sounds like they got whiskeydick…yikes was that bad

  28. I’m risking my life with this, but the truth must get out.

    20, 30 years ago, SNL’s stable of talent would hone their impressions over weeks, months, years, with some of the best ones (like Phil Hartman’s) not being clone-alikes of the celebrities, but absurd, satirical parodies. Nowadays, “sound like him” is the only criteria they need. What does this lead to?

    Instead of having characters that could breathe and exist on their own strengths, they need their celeb impressions to be plopped into in chaotic, already odd circumstances. The thing with that is, you need for those circumstances to happen before you can capitalize on them for your own gain.

    You could just wait around for the zeitgeist to give you those moments, and then drop the ball with them — M.I.A. — or you could use your own resources to create your own cannon fodder. A month ago, Lana Del Rey had a nervous appearance on the show, weeks later Kristen Wiig parodied her on SNL. Same thing with Bon Iver: he snoozes up the soundstage, and weeks later he’s putting babies to sleep. At this point, would it be outside the realm of possibility to see Tina Fey cameoing next week as Karmin? No. How else can you explain the bookings this year? It’s a conspiracy straight out of an Alan Moore comic, and I’m the only masked stranger that can see throught the lies!!! Sleep well in your comfy beds, sheeple, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    • you’re probably right with the lack of effort and maturation with the characters and writing, BUT i don’t think it’s 100% that way at all. Barry Gibb didn’t appear in an odd situation? Obama, the other political characters umm GILLY haha, they are THERE just, not as obvious or as good (shrug). but idk, i learned ages ago to not complain about SNL, if i do i’m afraid it might disappear, and IF it ever does, it will be the saddest day in pop culture history.

      • [but i've been happy with the fresh talent they've been getting on the casts, all good people, and bringing back old fav cast members (now n then) is extremely smart]

  29. I can’t believe how many people are falling for this band. Their whole success is based solely on the fact that she is wicked hot, and they made a really catchy sample of “Can You Get to That” by Funkadelic, which ughhhh thousands of kids right now think they wrote that riff. How frustrating! Anyway, this “performance” blew and pretty much confirmed what I has suspected about this “band”, which is that they suck a great deal. They’re just a studio creation. JT’s Bon Iver was priceless, though.

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