[Live Review] Crystal Castles @ The Warfield

03/08/2011

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Photos by Victoria Smith
Written by Erik Thybony

First impression on entering the Warfield lobby: holy fuck, this band is popular. The place is packed to capacity and I’m elbow to head with frantic, giggling high school kids. It’s like a dwarf convention, but with hipper haircuts. Relax, you weird little munchkins. If you’re lucky, you’ll keep growing.

The opening band is called Suuns. They’re from Canada, and they pronounce their name “Soons.” Hey, we’re all adults here—I’ll let you make your own Canadian jokes aboot that one. Musically, they’re not bad. They’re the type of electro-noise band you’d expect to be opening the show, but with a weird edge to them that I appreciate. They remind me of some of the more experimental bands of the 90s, but with every instrument run through an effects processor. Their songs are a bit repetitive, but you might want to check them out anyway if you like the noise rock thing.

Before Crystal Castles’ set, a crew guy comes on stage and announces that singer Alice Glass has broken her ankle, but she’s here anyway, because *fuck the doctors*! (Or something like that.) The drums kick in and she hobbles out on one crutch, rocking a hoodie, looking in the most glamorous way like she’s been banging rocks with the bums out on Taylor Street. She props her foot on the monitor, strangles the mic and starts screaming. The audience goes insane. They love it. For the class of 2011, Crystal Castles is clearly where it’s at. Welcome to the future.

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The music is as intense as the light show. It’s awesome. It reminds me of that Pokemon episode that induced 700 seizures in Japan. There are four pillars of lights placed around the stage, and they are all strobing brilliantly together, the only lights in the auditorium. They match the music—raw, intense, distorted. If you’ve heard Crystal Castles, you know what I mean. (If not, go listen to them. Why are you reading this?) For a band with nothing but drums, synths, and vocals, they produce a monstrous wave of sound. It’s extreme, a full frontal attack. And lets be very clear—that’s a good thing. Punishing electro-dance combined with insane flashing lights makes their live show an intense experience. As a student of intense experiences, I recommend it.

(Here’s a video shot by Victoria from the performance)

(more photos)