It was about two or three years ago that I missed Crystal Castles in Chicago. Well, I didn’t really miss them so much as my stoner buddy gave me the wrong date in his MySpace message (yeah, I probably deserve it for having still even signing onto MySpace back then). Instead, I had to catch their DJ set at the then bar Sonotheque, now Beauty Bar. Am I the only one who remembers Sonotheque? Seriously, because every time I mention that Beauty Bar now stands where Sono used to, all I ever get are blank expressions, but anyways.
I was going through a horrible break up at the time and slaving away for this non-profit that gave me one of those infamous “promotions,” you know, the kind where your work load doubles, your title changes to something snazzier, but then you’re still getting paid the same you started out with. Well, needless to say I required a good dance off to shake away some of the stress. Crystal Castles gave a decent DJ set, but Sonotheque’s awkward stairs in the middle of the dancefloor, very narrow design, made the experience somewhat lack luster. The whole time, I just kept thinking about the ex (since he was the one who presented me with Crystal Castles), and trying not to fall over dancing haphazzardly on those strange, short steps.
Thank god Sonotheque became Beauty Bar, because seriously I hated their design, that awful night searching for him in the crowd, and my life maybe… not to be too melodramatic. Needless to say, when Crystal Castles’ publicist passed me their second album, I almost lost my mind. Ever since I’ve been blasting that little album in almost resolute intent to forget the ex and the life I left behind in Chicago. Now, as I rush through the Mexico City subway system, Crystal Castles II blares over the ambulant candy, music and miscellaneous knick-knack sellers hustling from cart to cart.
Fast forward, and I’m rushing along a rainy D.F. street through La Roma, and my eyes burst from my face upon noticing a poster for One Arts + Music Festival presented by Vive One. The whole morning before the show I listened to the CC II on loop, imagining the euphoria that would overcome me as I heard each or any of the blissful distortions and bleeping crescendos of their latest album. But nothing could have prepared me for the elated exorcism I would soon embark upon.
Our recent interview with Chromeo’s delightfully eloquent Dave 1, made me anticipate their performance, but not being much of their fan, I remained sceptical of their performance. Until of course, after a pretty decent delivery by Rey Pila and The Oats, and a dance-athon disco by Holy Ghost, I was well in the mood for something jazzier. I was revved by Chromeo’s 70’s funk and soul undulations, much thanks to the crew of cool kids I was hanging with at the festival, mixed with their wild Mexican flailings and a choice selection of the right, side stage clearing where we could not only see the band peeping through rafters and speakers, but had enough room to dance as freely as we wanted in the midnight warehouse at el Palacio de los Deportes where the concert was held. After some fine two stepping, we rushed to the next stage with a stampede of hipster Mexican kids chasing behind us. When Crystal Castles kicked it off, my body suddenly jolted into aggressively splendid post-punk convulsions. Have you ever felt your face shake loose from your skull? I have…
All in all, the festival was a hit, and with every surprise intro from their first album mixed with Ethan Kath’s stellar compositions and Alice Glass’ crowd suffering, lighter-lit drugged antics, the drifting delirium of the night pretty much absolved me of all past ex, work, and lifetime traumas. Glass’ vocals could have been a little higher, but who cares… she’s not really a singer anyways. My knees still ache with from the electro-shock therapy groove. Yup, the set was that good.