Friday, August 20, 2010

Crystal Castles Shatter Expectations at House of Blues

The House of Blues is the Coldplay of the venue world. That is to say, the ones you love to hate. But sometimes, quietly, when no one is around, you admire what they have done. I hate venues that have seats and I can appreciate that House of Blues Boston gets the bigger acts who would otherwise play Agganis Arena or the Orpheum Theatre and allows them to performance in a space where the audience can dance and thrash about. This was abused to the full extent when I caught Rusko and Crystal Castles there on August 17, 2010.

Now that I am done giving some small praise to the venue, I can vent about their absolutely obnoxious process to get people into the show. In order to get in, you first must wait in a long line until you are met with a series of questions (and challenges?) given by their rag-tag team of jacked ex-jocks who have a superiority complex and reply to everything with ‘If you don’t like it, go home!” I, myself, had no problem getting in but my roommates weren’t as lucky.

The quick rundown on how to get in quick: tell them you were drinking (because we know you were) - it was four drinks - say ‘I’m doing great tonight’ - have your ticket and ID set to be read - take everything out of your pockets (don’t forget your cigarettes) - bam, you’re in! The drink count is important since my roommate answered five while his girlfriend answered three and both were denied wristbands. Apparently, four is the magic number. And you are going to need a drink because you are going to be in there dancing for over four grueling hours with no reentry.

Once I got in, there was quite a scene waiting for me. The house lights were still on, the venue was jammed packed, and Rusko was just getting ready to begin. He spun his set on top of a high platform the length of the stage that showed LED pictures of mixtapes and related imagery. It looked awesome and had the feeling of a European club. Rusko played for about an hour and a half and kept the crowd bobbing up and down in unison with the thick dubstep beats he was throwing down. His hilarious and enthusiastic antics were fun to watch as well and the crowd was loving the mix. Below is the a clip of the action and you get a good feel for how crazy it was down there.

After a seemingly endless intermission, Crystal Castles took the stage and proceeded to blow minds. Their set was absolutely insane and had an intense punk atmosphere that is hard to describe to anyone who wasn’t there. They played in pitch black a lot of the time with the band flashing in and out of focus by the towering strobe lights. There was no shortness in highlights with fan favorites “Alice Practice”, “Crimewave”, and “Air War” from their highly lauded debut making appearances. I have become particularly found of their latest release and found “Baptism” to be the pinnacle of the night. The digital blips ping-ponging around the venue alongside the wall-of-distortion breaks courtesy of Ethan Kath and drummer Christopher Chartrand sounded incredible. Check out the clips of “Alice Practice” and “Crimewave” below.

I could barely even tell I was right upfront until the strobe lights flashed and singer Alice Glass was right there screaming in my face getting ready to pounce on everyone. There were so many people up front that you couldn’t fall if you tried. Alice spent a lot of time testing the limits of her vocal chords and leaping into the crowd, thus earning her reputation as one of the most passionate performers in the biz. Meanwhile, everyone was throwing drinks and glitter around making sure that I was absolutely disgusting by the time I left which was sometime after 1:00am. It was a crying shame that I had to go to work the next day but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Listen to Crystal Castles (II) here; it’s quite the experience!


100th Post Anniversary!


  1. Congrats on the anniversary. Sweet post. I'm heading to the Baltimore stop of this tour on Sunday. Getting pretty pumped.

  2. it was fucking amazing... but you forgot sinden !!

  3. I didn't forget him. I, unfortunately, missed him.