by Parker Brown
Forgive me, retinas, for I have sinned. Had I known that Crystal Castles would turn The Sinclair into a veritable unholy church of strobe lights and electronic music, I would have better prepared myself. But due to a lack of foresight, I am left with white spots dotting my vision and a ringing in my ears.
Crystal Castles, the experimental electronic duo lead by Ethan Kath and newcomer Edith Frances, started their show off with “Concrete,” as an array of strobe lights lit up the venue. Clad in all black, the crowd kept their hands up in praise of the chaotic bass, which dictated their every move. The show itself felt more like an underground rave than a formal event – every few seconds I would try to catch a glimpse of the group onstage, but the blinding lights forced my head down to the point where all I could do was dance along to the glitchy beats.
Their set list was almost entirely comprised of tracks from their newest album Amnesty (I). “Chloroform,” and “Femen” were crowd favorites, but the violent and industrial sound the band is known for was most present in “Fleece”. The track formed a wall of sound that barreled through the audience like a tidal wave. Although this is the first album with Frances as the singer, the hectic spirit of Crystal Castles was undoubtedly still present. Her stage presence commanded attention – her flailing was only interrupted to baptize herself in bottled water as the crowd cheered on in delight.
On stage showers aside, the most interesting parts of the set came when the group took a break from playing tracks off of the album to meet up in the middle of the stage for improvisational DJing. This is where Kane’s skills really shined as he took each opportunity to showcase his impressive synth skills without the heavily distorted and often times indecipherable vocals of Frances overshadowing his contributions.
Prior to the show, I was hesitant about what to expect, as Alice Glass is no longer contributing, but I was nothing short of speechless and exhausted as I walked out of The Sinclair. I had never enjoyed staring at strobe lights for an hour as much, and when this new incarnation of Crystal Castles decides to grace Boston with their presence again, I will no doubt be ready for round two.