By: Jamie Reysen
Canadian duo Crystal Castles fuse punk, electro and a heavy dose of angst to create a sound that’s inimitable, honest, and very much their own. Ethan Kath’s lo-fi, intense instrumentals match Alice Glass’s abrasive, shrill cries. Though Glass gets most of the recognition, she would lack substance and purpose without Kath—and vice versa.
While their recorded tracks are chock full of melodic moments, their March 19 performance at House of Blues Boston sounded less like music and more like raw, unrestrained emotion. In the same vein, experiencing Crystal Castles live is less about music and more about why we love it: it speaks to our innermost feelings and makes us feel connected, better understood.
As Glass screamed incoherently into the microphone—oftentimes drowned out by Kath’s frenetic instrumentals— familiar songs took on new meaning. From “Crimewave” and “Untrust Us,” from the 2008 Crystal Castles album, to “Baptism” and “Not in Love,” off their most recent release, the tracks became emotionally charged fits of intensity. There’s something about Glass’s energy that’s confrontational; it’s as if she was forcing the audience to face inner, subconscious, and submerged conflicts.
In a word, Glass is hardcore. She threw herself off the stage and surfed through the audience, though her ankle has been broken since January. The crowd mirrored her intensity, moshing and thrashing about. One girl broke her nose crowd surfing and, in true Alice-fan fashion, popped it back into place by herself, refusing medical assistance. I was both horrified and impressed.
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