Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crystal Castles, or, how a strobe light took 3 years of my life but i don't care.

Dear Web Journal,

I am just going to get straight down to it: the show I saw last night was one of the best I’ve seen this year. Yeah, yeah, we’re only 3 months in, but if Health and Crystal Castles can make me feel as euphoric as I did when leaving-equilibrium fucked up and ears gloriously ringing-in spite of it being at Studio B, then you know it had to be good. Not to disparage the venue too harshly. The sound is always fantastic, but I HATE the way they make you wait around from one set to the next, precariously leaving enough time to dissolve whatever high you get from one band before the next comes on.

But as I’m saying, my usual grumpiness that evolves out of 1) cutesy little girls that can’t figure out how to not squirm around next to me and 2) the waiting waiting waiting was totally way-laid by both bands. I knew nothing about Health before seeing them, and even watching all the elaborate equipment set up (an electronic drum kit and keyboard placed on the floor, various guitars and microphones strewn about the set, an actual drum kit in its usual place at the back), I was not prepared for the aural assault to come. I don’t really know what to say---so much energy and all members but the drummer threw themselves around stage. But even in their manic style of play, from banging a single drumstick on the floor kit and doing back spasms on each upswing to swinging the guitar on a strap around their necks, they sounded put together. It was noisy, but it wasn’t noise. I tried taking pictures, but sadly, my camera battery died after the first. So here you go:

Even with the blur of all four band members, the picture does not do justice to what I witnessed. It’s as if I showed you this:

But what I really experienced was this:

Only with additional fireworks and maybe some feral cats. I got lazy in Photoshop.

And then Crystal Castles. Imagine Joan of Arc in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, when she takes over the aerobics class in the mall. But with short black hair and smoky black eye makeup. And instead of to some cheesy 80s aerobic tape, all the high knees, floor-thrashing and bouncing around is to mind blowing dirty electronica meets summer on Ibiza meets her voice being put through 1, 2, 3, probably more, different manipulations, from the heavy whisper-scream (hahh, hahh) to her normal pitch to whatever that distortion is on the song "Crimewave".

And oh! the crowd. With one leg up on an amp at the front of the stage, she would lean in towards the front row and the hands would come from everywhere, clawing at her shirt like lepers waiting to be healed. Does that sound dramatic? Good. Because that's exactly what it was. And most of this is done with a strobe light flashing furiously throughout the entire performance. When I tried to leave, I was so disoriented from the combination of strobe and volume and AWESOME. My friend and I had trouble talking on the walk back. Whoa.

Love, Rachael

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