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Crystal Castles Sets The Hollywood Palladium Alight - 10/20

Lilian Min |
October 21, 2012 | 4:23 p.m. PDT

Music Editor

Electronic music is, for better or worse, a genre dominated by “hip” men sitting behind mountains of technical equipment.

So it is a pleasant surprise when any dance act physically interacts with the audience. But for Crystal Castles, that is the norm.

Saturday night’s show at the Palladium ballroom was a feast for thrash-electro fans, as Kontravoid and HEALTH (who is from Los Angeles) opened up the night.

But it was not until the lights dimmed and the first thrum of new single “Plague” began to hum out of the stage speakers that the crowd came alive with an energy that would not dim until the house lights came up again at the end of the night. 

Ethan Kath and Alice Glass took the stage mechanically, and Kath settled behind the stage setup that would remain his post for much of the show.

Glass, the dark-eyed, bright-haired singer whose mysterious appearance, demeanor, and back story has inspired a cultish following, clutched the mic stand and crouched on the stage as if in a trance, until she hoisted herself up and began singing the opening lines of the song.

And from there, the energy level of the show skyrocketed.  During songs, Glass would cross over the barrier between the photo pit and the audience and crowd surf, as the band’s tour manager and venue staff frantically tried to keep up with her.

The band played through some new material like “Wrath of God,” but it was their choice of old hits that got the fans in the ballroom, from the rave girls in studded bras to the more traditionally punk attendees in worn plaids and black boots, leaping into the air and screaming along.

Highlights included the electrifying “Baptism,” with its huge chorus, an aptly titled and rightly felt “Suffocation,” and a glittering rendition of “Celestica.”

In a real throwback move, the band also played “Untrust Us,” with its Death From Above 1979-sampled lyrics, and of course, the song that first put Crystal Castles on the map—the rough, bewildering, and utterly entrancing “Alice Practice.”

The band also played “Crimewave,” a song they worked on with HEALTH and which was the first single for both bands, although interestingly enough, the two did not perform the song together. 

Keeping with their common practice, the band closed their formal set with “Not In Love,” which is one of those songs that sounds completely different live. The chorus is a million times more, for lack of a better work, epic, and the crowd leaped up into the air chanting “I’m not in love” over and over again.

The band then played an encore that included songs like the radio-friendly “Vanished,” before Glass and Kath disappeared like wraiths back into the folds of the stage, leaving behind them a ballroom filled with sweaty bodies, crushed plastic cups, and the feeling of having not just having had, but having survived, the show experience.

Read more of NT’s show reviews here.

Reach Music Editor Lilian Min here; follow her on Twitter here and on Google+ here.



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