Postponed due to Icelandic volcano activity, fans were put on tenterhooks in anticipation of the Crystal Castles‘ live appearance at London‘s Heaven on 19th June. And their fans are very die-hard, to put it mildly, piling up as close to the stage as possible two hours before the set began as if waiting for the messiah.
The messiah crawled on stage on all fours with a savage expression on her face; part woman, part beast, part machine. Disciplined by the stern beats of Fainting Spells, the opener from the Castles‘ self-titled second album, the creature arose to euphoric applause and started to thrash about like a harpooned shark. It was Alice Glass, the humanoid Crystal Castles singer – would she dive into the crowd despite plenty of frictions with bouncers and broken up gigs in the past?
It’s fair to say that Alice spent more time crowd surfing than she did on stage. The crowd were grateful, passing her around and holding her up like the female Iggy Pop that she was. Motionlessly hunching over his synthesisers like the grim reaper, producer and synth player Ethan Kath is the glue that prevents it all from falling apart.
Crystal Castles might play a dance based, retro-futuristic 8 bit version of noise music, but make no mistake: this is a hard-boiled punk band through and through. Coupled with their epileptic lightshow, the manner in which they thrash through material such as the mighty Crimewave or the more Ladytronesque Celestica is of such intensity this author can only imagine it’s like a Stooges gig circa 1970.
Ultimately, Alice Glass‘s not-of-this-earth stage persona is a testimony to the power of human expression. Catch them live if you can!