Entertaining a sizeable crowd has long been a hard thing for musicians to master. To do so with a broken ankle and uncomplimentary crutches is a near unimaginable feat. But Alice Glass, the second half of Crystal Castles, pulled it off swimmingly at their Big Day Out sideshow last week.
Busted bones and medical auxiliaries did not hinder her characteristically volatile and confrontational performance whatsoever. Much to everyone’s surprise, Alice ignored the doctor’s advice to refrain from playing and rebelled against it by hopping recklessly on one foot, thrusting her crutches into the air, climbing on top of the speakers and crawling across the floor in an eerie Chucky doll manner. The deviant deity seemed more than willing to risk breaking both legs in order to satisfy her cult of followers who in turn erupted in excitement.
Ethan Kath stayed to himself on stage, laying down a labyrinth of deft beats behind the mixing board while Alice deafened us with her screeching vocals (probably intensified by the inevitable pain in her leg) and indiscernible lyrics. Crystal Castles blazed through tracks from their two self-titled studio albums, demonstrating the undoubtedly unique sound they’ve crafted; one that both resembles an 80s video game being possessed by the devil and is certainly not for the faint hearted.
The brutal barrage of sonic devastation, the omission of banter and the hyperactive strobe lights made this more of a rave than a gig. The Canadian duo unleashed their manic, electronic attack upon the glow stick appreciation society before them without interruption and without any sense of commercialism or self-consciousness. The antagonistic, convulsive nature of Crystal Castles that can be quite incoherent on record seems to find more focus in the live sphere.
Crystal Castles are definitely no Presets or Klaxons. Divinities of the underground indietronic scene, they’re cryptic, organic and utterly autonomous. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to witness the stage diving and drum mounting antics that Alice has gained a reputation for, but I must tip my hat to her regardless, for she single-leggedly sold out the Enmore, incited an all-out rave and left a trail of blown minds.
Reckless / Through The Hosiery
Not In Love (Platinum Blonde cover)
Untrust Us / I Am Made Of Chalk