Crystal Castles and Health live in Boston

Where: House of Blues

When: October 6, 2012

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No one goes to a HEALTH/Crystal Castles concert expecting keen musicianship and tender harmonies—the only demand made for such a tremendous lineup is that they make noise so immense it could melt paint off walls. And that’s exactly what happened at the House of Blues this past Saturday. Both bands undeniably dominated the venue—but not without a little help from a very talented lo-fi counterpart. electronic’s golden-child Pictureplane was up first, and while his set was a bit on the shorter side (it was an all-ages show after all), it was acutely galvanizing. Amidst the blustery boom, Pictureplane—whose real name is Travis Egedy—delivered aching and exhilarating melodies with notable ease. Ending his set with “Post Physical,” it was clear that he was delighted with just being on the bill. 

When HEALTH (pictured) pummeled the stage, the mood shifted from refreshingly atmospheric to complete and utter wild-boy thrash. It was evident they were having a field day as they started their set with the explosive “Zoothorns” then glided into “Crimewave.” Live, their energy is enviable. When experienced, HEALTH display terrifying precision that isn’t always easy to pick up on some of their recorded tracks. Disjointed guitars were employed to dredge out HEALTH’s inner crazed punk provocateur onstage—which was a dramatic way to prepare us for the feral intensity of Crystal Castles.

The Toronto twosome was as brash and bawdy as they come: Ethan Kath is the vehement and steadfast component of the duo—Alice Glass is the unabashed exhibitionist. Donning a purple wig, Glass had no problem celebrating yearning synths and shuddering bass by crowd surfing during songs.  “Doe Deer,” “Suffocation,” and “Black Panther,” were among the songs performed, but the real treat was when Glass sang the Robert Smith-graced “Not in Love” with such fidgety confidence you couldn’t help but keep your eyes on her. And with all of the pulsating lights and rapid sonance, that alone speaks volumes.

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  1. dos pesos

    October 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I love Alice and Crystal Castles, don’t get me wrong, that is why we were at the show, but their Boston HOB show around 2 years ago at HOB seemed tighter in that Alice kept her focus on the performance. It might have been the boot/cast and crutch/cane (for her damaged ankle?) she was stuck with back then that kept her ‘relatively’ grounded onstage and on the music.
    During this Oct ’12 show no one seemed to care that HER MIKE WASN’T OPERATING – BARELY AUDIBLE, or maybe it was a glitch with the super-processed vocal machine, either way most songs seemed almost without vocals: I really think the strength of CC is the tension between the heavy backing tracks and the intensity of Alice’s vocals. So a lot of the songs felt incomplete, or we were at least cheated of Alie’s effort: – She was visibly *screaming* into the mike, and no sound of her voice was coming out the other end.
    And other times (not too many-but enough) she seemed more interested in crowd surfing than singing. We all love Alice and I’m all for the whole ‘punk rock’ energy and all, but never forget you are there to put on a show.

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