Monday, 25 October 2010

Crystal Castles @ Leeds Met 23rd October 2010


Crystal Castles are the exact opposite of white noise and that is what we’re waiting for. The venue is packed to the rafters full of an energetic and eclectic mix of fat emo girls, skinny fashionistas, students, drunks, lovers, and a grey-haired old man in a scarf who spent the duration staring into the glare of his mobile phone. As married parents in their thirties we landed the most age appropriate spot – in the aforementioned rafters on the somewhat secret balcony with an excellent view of everyone and everything. No elbows digging into your ribs, no drinks flying overhead. I couldn’t have been more comfortable whilst waiting and anticipating the brutal rape of my lug holes.


The dry ice machine goes on, the lights go out and the kids scream and then comes the noise, it’s very noisy noise, shrill, busy and indistinguishable. Then from the darkness comes the light, recognisable beats of Fainting Spells rearing their pounding heads through rhythmical tinnitus. Simultaneously, the Glass silhouette fades into recognition through the thick smog of dry ice. This is no crazy introduction this is it for the next relentless 70 odd minutes. I didn’t see any strobe-warnings on my way in but I didn’t see anyone’s tongue being restrained by a spoon either. Crystal Castles and epileptics shouldn’t mix but from where I was standing everyone on the floor was having one huge fit and they didn’t let up until the end. The energy was astounding, and flowed through the venue like a huge wave, not one person was standing still. It was like being part of a trailer for the new season of Skins but way less depressing.


Alice Glass failed to connect with the crowd verbally but you could tell by her repeat trips, she is no more at home than sailing on a sea of clammy fan's hands. Hoisted above them, microphone in hand, Glass screams her way through the playlist and gives everyone in the first ten rows the opportunity to lay their hands on her bones. With the glaring strobe on her the image was reminiscent of Regan from The Exorcist (1973) kneeling on her bed and screaming out in tongues before Satan or the original cinema poster for the The Evil Dead (1981), reaching outwardly to protect herself from being dragged into the hungry pit.

The Evil Dead (1985)
The Exorcist (1973)
 I was perplexed when my eyes eventually gained their focus, to spot that in the hot hot heat, Alice Glass was wearing thick black tights under her pencil skirt but once she had thrown herself into the crowd it became obvious that they were more than just tights - they formed a barrier to stop the eager fingers of spotty young virgins sinking into sacred places. At one point the tights were not enough and that’s when she got the chance to showcase the brutality she is infamous for and lashed out at one lucky fan who has no doubt already changed his facebook profile picture to one proudly featuring his funky fresh wound.

Toy Story (1995)
 Highlights included Celestia, Doe Deer, Baptism, Crimewave and Intimate. When Glass wasn’t floating above the crowd she was either bounding about or scuttling across the floor of the stage like the dolls-head spider-monster thing from Toy Story (1995). To unknowing ears it would no doubt all sound the same. The lyrics were completely indistinguishable, Glass’s voice shifted from sounding like a young girl being savagely murdered to Optimus Prime being savagely murdered by the KLF and then without so much as a ‘thank you’ or ‘goodnight’ it was over and Glass and her equally elusive sidekick Ethan Kath scuttle off into the darkness leaving us with nothing but the stench of sweat and a high pitched ringing in the ear. On the whole it was an absolutely fucking brilliant, heart-pounding, pulse-thumping, thrill ride of a show and Alice Glass proved that she belongs in the Crystal Castle as the energetic, enigmatic and ill-mannered princess of alternative pop power.

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