The Toronto duo, Crystal Castles, was back in the Bay Area at The Warfield to melt faces on Friday night. The sold out venue was filled with enthusiastic fans looking to start their weekend off right. If you read our review of their performance at The Fox Theater last summer or know anything about them, then you should have an idea of how this show unfolded. Their noisy, “no apologies” electronic music blasted from the venue’s sound system and bright strobes pulsed in varied colors as the crowd seemed to dance slowly, mesmerized by the sights and sounds.
Despite the crowd’s overall enthusiasm, I found their performance slightly sterile. Being a fan of their powerful recordings, I had hoped that their live show would contain some sort of additional raw energy and bite, when in the end, it sounded pretty much like their album. I did appreciate the addition of the live drummer, but his visual and auditory presence at the show should have been emphasized more. Front woman Alice Glass, who has a reputation of being very intense and aggressive on stage, seemed tame and even disoriented at times, falling to the stage upon which a sharp second of feedback followed as the microphone hit the floor. This may have been due to the broken ankle that she sustained in January prior to a show in Tokyo. It could have also been related to the bottle that she was taking swigs from throughout the show, which looked a lot like a bottle of Jim Beam from where I was standing. Regardless, the masses were still pleased and I did in fact enjoy the performance in spite of my high expectations.
It seems that the group has reached a watershed point in their career in recent months as they have eclipsed the exclusively indie scene that initially supported and continues to embrace them. Fueled by the balance struck between glitchy, distorted, electronic sounds and the beat driven, sparkling synth hooks in latest album Crystal Castles (II), they have headlined multiple tours and drawn massive crowds at festivals around the world. For artists with such a punk attitude and image, it will be interesting how the next year or two unfolds for them with growing attention from the mainstream.
[mp3] CRYSTAL CASTLES – Suffocation from Crystal Castles II (2010)