Crystal Castles @ Brixton Academy, London 24 Nov
Tonight, one of TGA’s favourite London venues [if these walls could talk, they’d have to shout] plays host to feisty Canadian duo Crystal Castles. If one is not instantly familiar with their work, then review terms such as “ferocious”, “deafening” and “unlistenable” might not instantly make you feel like lacing up your Converse and hot-footing it over to The Academy. But don’t believe the gripe.
So, they’re not “unlistenable”, after all, in fact, far from it. From the instant they take the stage – preceded by a roadie/flunky with a bucket of flowers and some candles, very Celine Dion At Vegas – the sell-out crowd goes absolutely ape. Every song is greeted with joyous approval, and we are swept along on an infectious tide of bouncing, dancing and hands-in-the-air-like-we-just-don’t-care. Alice Glass hasn’t fully shed her punk-shriek leanings, but she knows how to hold a tune. She also appears to be violently allergic to staying on stage for long. A vast quantity of the songs seem to see her surfing out into the crowd, and being held aloft by adoring hands, never missing a beat. Clothes (not hers) are being flung everywhere in wild abandon. The music [Techno? Goth? Punk? Do we care at this point?]washes over us in a wonderful sonic tide. And it’s good stuff. Ethan Kath, bent in concentration over his keyboard, sends out pulsing beats and throbbing bass, but the duo are joined on stage by An Actual Real Life Drummer, which adds a certain organic something to the proceedings. With three albums to draw on, there’s plenty of material to plough through [with only the occasional gap between numbers where Glass has to be fished out of the crowd].
So, on the whole tonight is a totally listenable and strangely joyous experience. If we have to sum up the sound [and it’s difficult to categorise, as we said earlier], we would say it was like Goldfrapp and Curve having a set-to in a bass bin. But don’t take our words for it, go and see them. They’re ferocious, in a good way.