Venue: The Ground Theatre @ *SCAPE, Singapore
Date: 23rd May 2017
Promoter: Moonbeats Asia
Review by: Nate Eileen Tjoeng
Special Thanks: The Moonbeats Asia team
Killing the Ghost of Alice Glass – the New Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles visited our sunny shores not too long ago at Neon Lights, but they are convinced that they could gather a crowd again. Why not? Since they have been hopping around the region. They are a persistent in reminding us about Crystal Castles, knowing well that the latest album Amnesty (I) is not as well-received, and that the departure of Alice Glass killed off many numbers in their fan base.
Less than a month to the show, Moonbeats Asia changed the concert venue from Millian to SCAPE’s The Ground Theatre. Whatever the reasons could be, Edith Frances was still able to come on stage with a cigarette in her mouth, despite the obvious non-smoking rule in the premises. We are after all in Singapore, aren’t we? There was probably also no problem with swearing on stage – if she did – as it is signature of Crystal Castles lyrics to be indecipherable. Edith looked wild and free, just like how she would and should be, baptising herself and the crowd with splashes of water. Still living in the shadows of Alice Glass, the good thing about poor Edith is that she is at least able to keep up to her predecessor. The quirk and weird levels she brings simulate a comparable performance, even though it might take awhile for her to shed off Glass’ imprints.
Crystal Castles, who are too-cool-for-school, never verbally said anything to the crowd that welcomed them back. Safe from the erratic weather experienced at Neon Lights, the duo dealt their electronic waves out in a dingy dark room tucked somewhere at the basketball court of the youth haven, SCAPE. Ethan Kath stood behind his controllers and decks to orchestrate Edith’s rag doll dance while Christopher Chartrand, the supporting drummer, wrecked the cymbals and toms.
The sound at The Ground Theatre leaves much to be desired, as some frequencies seemed to be drowned out, not giving justice to the band that one might hail as gods of electronic music. Nevertheless, the audience still had a good dance. The flood lights that were facing the audience brought the hypnotic levels up, while Edith flailed like a cult leader, inducing the crowd into a trance.
Starting wisely with Intimate and Baptism, Edith slipped herself into the Glass’ shoes to show everyone that she is capable of delivering the same, even though those tracks were not her babies. Perhaps because Crystal Castles’ music have evolved into heavier, punkier and grungier sounds, they saw no space to fit many of the tracks from their first album in, except for just Crimewave and Untrust Us. Never mind that, the crowd did not seem to care, as they never stopped moving. They performed many tracks from Amnesty (I) such as Fleece, Teach Her How to Hunt and ended the night with Enth.
Farrows, an electronic duo, that have been following them for this Asian tour league did the opening act. The unsavoury part of the concert was that Farrows used the same stage light effects that Crystal Castles used, which should have been an ingredient reserved for the main act. The interval between the opening act and Crystal Castles delayed entrance was a whole 45 minutes – which was excruciating because of the occasionally blinding strobe lights and the exhausted stash of alcohol.
The good thing was that the crowd quickly forgot about that when Crystal Castles compensated with two encores and when Edith came out in at the end, in a tee shirt that honoured the victims of the Manchester terror attack that just happened two days ago. Keep up the good work Edith, you definitely earned brownie points for that. Why does Crystal Castles need depressed Alice Glass anyway?