Electric Picnic 2010 - Crystal Castles
Electric Arena, Saturday 4th September, 5.15pm (although it was closer to 5.30...)
Describe in a tweet: Someone fetch a tailor - the Emperor's new clothes are threadbare.
What Happened: Part of the attraction of going to see Crystal Castles is the unpredictability factor. After all, the band is notorious for not turning up at gigs, fighting with each other, fighting with the sound guys, fighting with the crowd, or fighting with reality itself. (The last one is made up, but it's only a matter of time, surely.)
So, as the clock continues ticking with no sign of the band, initial impressions leave us to consider that this might actually turn out to be another no show. The sound guys tinker with the equipment, and the crowd grow increasingly restless. Then, after 15 minutes, they creep on stage, to be greeted by a wave of euphoria from the audience.
Almost immediately it becomes apparent that there's something curiously missing. Ethan Kath is hunched over banks of equipment, whilst Alice Glass does her best to bang her head off the ground and climb over everything in sight.Then it hits you - it's almost impossible to make out any of the music at all. A hissing synth fizzles through the mix, whilst Alice Glass appears to be doing something into a microphone...something inaudible. Then she starts screaming and screaming, before going back to holding the microphone whilst nothing happens. All the while, a drummer pounds a drumkit which moves in and out of the mix.
And so it goes. Mark E Smith of the fall once preached the importance of the three 'r's': "Repetition...repetition... repetition." Crystal Castles seem to have heeded his wisdom in two important ways; not only are the songs boringly reminiscent of each other, but surely this is just a pointless re-tread of something Suicide did back in New York over thirty years ago? It goes on and on, with the band reeling out the same tricks again and again, the material falling into two camps: the hissy, ambient ones, and the bleepy shouty ones.
It's very physical, however, and Alice Glass cuts an impressive figure as she climbs atop the equipment and crowd surfs. By and large the audience are with them on this, and dance from start to finish. Perhaps it's significant that many of them dance even when there is no music being played.
When faced with this accusation, Crystal Castles would no doubt look bored, pout a little, and then continue on regardless.
Electric Dreams: There's a certain excitement in waiting to see what happens next. Then the inevitable disappointment in realising that it's just going to be more of the same. The majority of the crowd don't seem to mind, though.
Ants at my Picnic: Dear Santa Claus, for christmas I would like you to ensure that I never have to listen to Alice Glass's horrible voice, ever again. I promise to be a good boy.
EP Rating: 3/10