Sleigh Bells, “Crown on the Ground” live at Terminal 5 — 2/17/12

Yesterday I read Matthew Perpetua’s outline of what is colloquially known as “the drop” in dubstep. He frames it within a Skrillex concert, and writes that it’s “as if [Skrillex is] reaching out and physically touching and pushing the crowd, enforcing the communal experience with a rattling sound that everyone feels at once,” a sound so universally loved that drops may become a “ubiquitous feature of pop music in the next few years.”

All attendees in this video are familiar with “Crown on the Ground,” but one of Sleigh Bells’ live show peculiarities is finishing it with a fake-out. Alexis coos the last “set set that crown” and the guitar finally dies out just like the recorded version, but then (at 3:43 in the video) they launch into one last reprise of the chorus’ detonation before actually ending both the song and the show. The audience knew it was the closer, so we spurred our ragged bodies to the limit. At this point in the concert, I was out of breath from how tight my stomach muscles constricted to push out all of my sing-along yells. I felt so close to the finish line, only to have the rug less-than-yanked-more-like-spontaneously-combusted out from under me.

Everyone there picked up on the sleight of hand at the same time and rallied for just a couple more measures. So much of the dubstep drop is based on expectation and build-up. Sleigh Bells introduced a jolt to the system, caffeine implants behind the eyes, lightning from within a vacuum.

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