ashley dean

A t any given time, I have a few of what I call "mystery bruises." I usually know when I got them -- snowboarding, at a party, etc. -- but exactly how I get them is less clear.

Did I fall off a stool or walk into a table? Did catch a bad edge or miss a landing?

On Monday, I acquired a few mystery bruises. I know it was at the Sleigh Bells show at the Boulder Theater. And that's about it.

These are not my first Sleigh Bells bruises. The last time I saw the duo was at the Ogden Theatre, back in April. I was just a few people back from the very front "row" (pits don't have rows, but you know) and I got absolutely crushed and pummeled the entire time.

It was awesome.

The time before that was at Bonnaroo in 2011. If you've ever been to a major music fest, I don't need to tell you how sweaty and packed the show was. If you haven't, I'd compare it to being in the middle of a growing pile of football players on top of a ball, if the players were on multiple substances and wearing Ray-Bans.

This time around, the crowd wasn't as large and crushing, but the pit was no joke. I got caught up in a surprise mosh -- you know, when you don't voluntarily charge in, it just explodes around you -- and I went with it. Various elbows were violently introduced to my ribs, shoulders and head.

Concerts like these are half the reason we pay to see live music. Seeing and hearing a band live, actually witnessing people make music and feeling the energy is great. Losing yourself in the experience is better.


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The Sleigh Bells experience is easily one of my favorites. Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss are right at the edge of the stage when they're not flinging themselves around it. They do push-ups and shots before they go on. They're jacked up. Krauss crowd surfs and high-fives. On Monday, she briefly bent over and sung just inches from a guy's face.

They don't even need to -- the music alone is enough to whip the crowd into a jumping frenzy. When the first gnarly guitar chords are hammered out and Krauss is shouting "What the fuck's up?" everyone in the room goes from 0 to raging in under 30 seconds. It's an adrenaline shot. Or, maybe more appropriately, a kick in the ass.

So I regularly risk serious facial bruising for this band. If I had to guess, I'd say the little purple marks came this time from "Infinity Guitars," "Comeback Kid" and "A/B Machines," but it's still a mystery.

Follow Ashley Dean on Twitter: @AshaleyJill.