Crystal Castles at the Southbank Centre
Crystal Castles transformed the dignified Southbank Centre into a raving night club with a torrential set of alternative electropunk, with their newly established lead singer Edith Frances. She stole the show with expert showmanship and spot on glitched-up vocals. Unfortunately, effects were very heavily piled up on her microphone, which occasionally made her disappear into the thick mix.
People were eager to get out of their seats and dance at the front from the very start, egged on by Frances’s frantic movements and screaming vocals. It may be nigh on impossible to surpass Alice Glass in stage presence, but the Canadian band did not seem to suffer much in the live show department despite the replacement of their all-important frontwoman.
From the gentle melodies of Char through the screaming 80s vibes of their classic Baptism to the pounding finale of Concrete, the rhythmic energy did not wane in the least as the drummer pounded through song after song, gracefully serving the music without claiming any of the limelight. His solo in the fast-paced Intimate was an impressive interlude, although the sound in the room was not optimal in regards to cymbals (or vocals).
The crowd reacted well to both new and old tunes, but they were quick to catch the older classics that they knew well – Crimewave and Not in Love got rounds of applause as the opening notes came in.
It was a fascinating set packed with various influences and altogether deeply entrancing. Under all the weight of this band’s anger and passion flows an impressive musicality that leaves little room for error or uncertainty. Ethan Kath maintained his control station under the incessant glare of inebriating strobe lights that seemed to push both performers and audience further into their frenzy. Frances flailed beautifully as though directed by a ghostly puppeteer, contagiously bringing the whole (comfortably seated) crowd up to flail alongside her.
Photos: Vic Frankowski
For further information about Crystal Castles and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Concrete here: