Chaotic, cathartic and over as soon as it starts

Crystal Castles ****** (6 stars out of 6); March 2 at Store Vega

There are some concert experiences that one remembers for months after they are over, and there are a select few that one will remember for many years. Crystal Castles’ show at Store Vega Saturday night was of the latter category: a seismic, purely cathartic experience that will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone who attended the show.

Toronto duo Ethan Kath and the extraordinary Alice Glass have made quite a name for themselves over the last few years with their wild live shows and blend of experimental electronica cast in a melancholic, contemplative frame. The fact that they've toured with Nine Inch Nails, a band renowned for their chaotic concerts, is a testament to the band’s party potential.

The pair came on stage rather late, to a crazed crowd who were there for the exclusive reason of bringing down the Store Vega roof.  Two songs in and Alice Glass was soaring on the tips of outstretched hands all the way in the middle of the sea of people at the venue, a screaming child drowned in a maze of strobe light chaos, flanked by twisted experimental beats. While most shows usually start off slowly before reaching a climax, Saturday's performance began with a cataclysmic storm that simply had to gear down soon after the onset, if for no other reason than for singer Alice Glass to catch her breath.  Songs such as the dreamy 'Celestica' and signature hit 'Not in Love' kept the crowd on their toes, as did the addition of a manic drummer who pounded the stuffing out of his percussion kit at the back of a stage ablaze with fluorescent flashing shades  from the strobe lights. 

Much like a tropical storm, the torrent was over as soon as it started, as the show grounded to an abrupt halt with no time for an encore (nor any need for one). It's seldom that one experiences a cathartic transformation of the sort that Saturday's show provided. I could barely hear myself think in the swirling vortex of the performance, a spinning concoction of chaos that took the crowd on a journey of epic proportions. Crystal Castles are one of the names to watch out for at Roskilde this summer, and if Saturday's show is anything to go by, their show will surely be a memorable experience.