Crystal Castles live : in dance is pain
Yayy ! Joy !! I have to say that I had a hard time hiding my happiness when i received my invite to the Crystal Castles gig. For at least two reasons. First: their latest album is DA bomb and has a bunch of tracks that will be instant classics (like “Plague”). Secondly: my first time with this band was like…the first time, if you know what I mean! That’s why I was really curious to see another time these two strange human beings – Alice Glass and Ethan Kath – in action.
Once I arrive in the mythical Parisian venue L’Olympia, I have fun checking out the audience and see what kinds of characters are populating the place. There’s a bit of everything: some well-dressed hipsters with really ugly hairstyles, some super dark goths, some drunken Australians (a permanent feature at almost every gig) and lots of feminine looking guys and masculine looking chicks. What is this gonna look like once the concert begins, you ask? Like a crazy and chaotic pogo-fest that perfectly fits with the band spirit! Because this gig tonight will be dark and violent, just like the stage décor showing the picture taken by Samuel Aranda that was used for the band’s album cover.
Being that the musical genre here is pretty rough – in a good way – I have to admit that the atmosphere is quite brutal –also in a good way – and it’s fun to hear some blonde princess scream that “people need to calm down, it’s just a concert after all”. Ahahah poor chick. She did not expect two of their most excellent tracks ,”Plague” and “Baptism”, being played directly at the beginning of the gig.
Even though the sound is still slightly rough, Alice is in excellent shape and spirit and starts slamming into the public. What the blonde princess from before needs to understand is that this is not a normal concert but rather a communion between the audience and its goddess. Alice knows that all eyes are on her but she manages to look detached and casual while still offering an awesome performance. Ethan is the opposite since he basically spends most of his time on top of his machines but he does take some time to address the audience…and, you won’t believe it, but I can testify that I saw him smile!
Anyway – new album, new excellent tracks and a gig full of good moments. The song “Alice Practice” puts the audience on fire but the real peak of the night will be on the ferocious “Insulin”. The addition of a drummer on this track makes total sense and the song is the perfect example of how this band can merge some rock and some electronics and give birth to the perfect union. People dance their asses off but dark and violent remain the two key words for tonight’s atmosphere. No silly speeches between the songs, no raise your hands all together now – just some wild lights, strobes and sheer energy.
There is definitely a disturbing element in Crystal Castles’ music and something incredible going on during their concerts. It’s only with the tracks “Sad Eyes” and “Not in Love” that the atmosphere slightly cools down, just so we can try to sing a bit over Alice’s faked voice. And by the way, I have just learned while writing this report that Alice is only 24 years old. Wow.
Even though the end of the show is not as good as the beginning, I cannot say enough how much I am impressed by this band and their performance. Crystal Castles is definitely a unique kind of band, talented, mysterious and slightly dangerous! You’ll never know how you’ll personally be impacted by it but I can guarantee you that the energy is there and it looks unstoppable! FIGHT!
Thanks to Léa for her help!