CRYSTAL CASTLES with KONTRAVOID at Kool Haus, Saturday, November 3. Rating: NNN
Ever since they burst onto the Toronto music scene in 2005, lead vocalist Alice Glass kicking and screaming, Crystal Castles have always been a band that have thrived on creating chaos. Their live shows, and their even more controversial no-shows, have been marked with antics including Glass performing on crutches, gear-smashing, on-stage drinking, and excessive stage-diving ending festival sets early.
Maybe it's because they're getting older, but Saturday night's all-ages show at the Kool Haus was comparably tame, though nevertheless spirited. Taking to the stage promptly, Glass, producer/instrumentalist Ethan Kath, and a drummer were barely visible through billowing clouds of smoke and an arena-worthy light show.
While new material from the electro duo's upcoming third album (due out November 12), suggested a more rave-friendly Crystal Castles, it was fan favourites like Crimewave and Not In Love (a Platinum Blonde cover that got a 2010 remake with vocals from The Cure's Robert Smith) that had the glowstick-touting audience in a frenzy. As for Glass, she mostly stuck to prowling the stage, jumping into the crowd only during a frenetic rendition of Alice Practice.
With Los Angeles noise-rockers HEALTH pulling out of playing at the last minute, Toronto's Kontravoid (aka former Crystal Castles touring drummer and ex-Parallels member Cam Findlay) picked up the slack, delivering a set of booming, synth-heavy darkwave.