Sensory stimulation from Crystal Castles

by Spencer Doar


It was like walking into a 15 mile per hour headwind inside First Avenue last night—the wash of sound was just that strong.   Your feet shuddered with the bass—a weird and tingly sensation reminiscent of a limb freshly awakened from sleep. 

The last time Crystal Castles brand of schizophrenic electronica was at First Avenue, singer Alice Glass had to wear a boot due to a foot injury.  Thursday she was full-strength—hopping into the crowd’s waiting arms three different times.  At one point she was handed a blunt from the audience, a gesture that she repaid in kind during the encore by passing around a bottle of Jack Daniel's. 

I’d be hard pressed to figure out the words behind Alice Glass’ processed shrieks and wails, but I also don’t care.  Last night was a spectacle.  Their light rig was bigger and better than before, for whatever reason producer Ethan Kath seemed more on his game, and they brought a drummer with them.  The drummer was hard to see—usually shrouded in smoke from the effects machines—but the addition of that live percussion helped drive the backbones of their songs, adding to the frenzied feeling of their set. 

It was a helluva teaser for their new album, “III,” which is now slated for release on Nov. 12.