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Opening act Health outshines

Off or on the record, Crystal Castles fails to interest.

For a band that most people will forget in five years, Crystal Castles certainly acts like they’re hot sh-t rock stars.

This story begins at the end of the night. Toronto’s Crystal Castles had just finished their set and walked off stage a few minutes after midnight. As the crowd was starting to thin, I met up with the photographer. She asked me if I saw her fall when she was bumped by a drunken lady beside the stage.

I didn’t, but I asked her if she was alright.

Yeah, but it was tough getting good shots, she said. I could understand why. It was dark and the only lighting throughout the set was the strobes that never ceased flashing, a very simple concept that looked fantastic because of the frozen movements of the lead singer Alice Glass. Glass, who looks like a cross between Karen O. and Amy Winehouse, bounced around on stage, screaming into the microphone, and pounding her fists into the air. Two powerful strobe lights were laid on the floor at each side of the three piece band and towards the end of the set, Glass picked up another smaller one to point into the eyes of the disco-dancing audience.

The lighting changed the Triple Rock from a concert venue into a nightclub, people were knocking around on the dance floor, forced to close theirs eyes from the blinding light.

CC’s set was a little shaky; it looked at times like Glass’s mic wasn’t working. She had her lips parted wide, and her body was thrust out over the edge of the stage, but nothing could be heard. Other times her voice was too quiet and then when she could be heard, it was awful screeching. The lyrics of the songs were indecipherable. But I felt like the point of this show was not to understand what she had to say. It was more about just having a few drinks and dancing like crazy. Glass succeeded in that regard, even without the audience being able to hear her, she still managed to get them moving with her energy.

Crystal Castles had the energy, people were into it, but it ended before it really began. They only played their record, which turned out to be a very short set. There was no improvisation and no encore. If you ask me 14 bucks is a little steep for a 40-minute act. Just this past summer, Prince had to be kicked out of his old club after performing until almost four in the morning.

After everyone started to clear out I looked toward the stage; the sound crew was now starting to take down microphones and other equipment. We walked quickly up the stairs at the side of the stage, and back towards the “greeroom.”

I introduced myself upon entering and received an underwhelming response.

Addressing us first was CC’s keyboardist, Ethan Fawn, a MSTRKRFT look-alike wearing skinny jeans, a leather jacket and a hoodie, with the hood over greasy, chin length black hair.

Fawn tells me he’s not interested in answering questions, but I should talk to Health. Within the first minute of entering the room I can tell this interview is going nowhere.

I am persistent, but modest with my questions. I simply say yes to his suggestion and tell him I will keep things short.

Fawn mentioned that he was happy to be on a tour with a band he liked for once. I asked whether he enjoyed touring with Metric last summer.

“No, I hated it; as soon as I was off stage I got right out of there,” he replied, then added, “why? Do you like Metric?”

I paused and then said yes.

“No you don’t,” he said.

I smiled at the absurdity of the conversation.

I decided to ask him how he had met the guys in Health, he responded rhetorically: “How do you hear about bands?”

I stopped questioning after that, content with listening to the guys from Health talk with Fawn about how they once ordered a shirt and record from CC, but never received it.

Glass never said a word from the time we entered to the time we left.

Besides this pointless conversation these are the things I remember most about meeting CC: I remember the half-eaten plates of pita and mashed potatoes amongst empty scattered water bottles. I remember the despondent looks on Glass’ and Fawn’s faces. I remember Health, these guys, happy, wanting to tell someone about how cool it is to be touring the country doing what they love.

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