By Sydney Ball
July 23, 2016
VANCOUVER — Crystal Castles’ new world tour has kicked off just before the release of their fourth album AMNESTY (I), which is the band’s first without singer Alice Glass. As most inquiring minds will want to know, how does new band mate Edith Frances measure up? Glass has been known for her unsettling stage presence and energetic vocals, and with the group’s finely tunes aesthetic, a lot is resting on Frances’ contribution to the live show.
Backed by their now fully owned image of Madonna with a black eye, the show at the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night seemed to definitively mark that not much has changed for their live show, and we can expect the new album to be a continuation for the group and their sound. Starting with Frances strutting out and straddling the mic stand, fully committed to the Crystal Castles uniform, with giant docs, sunglasses, pink hair, and a lit cigarette to top it off.
Frances’ vocals are put to much the same purpose as Glass’. She has a comparable, if not better, range, and the set list did not shy away from older material. After opening with new track “Concrete,” the show continued with the punky “Baptism,” and “Suffocation” from their second self-titled album. The set lasted an hour and littered in new songs “Fleece” and “Frail” among fan favorites like “Crimewave” and “Not in Love.”
Just as it seemed Frances’ might have been losing energy through the second half of set, Ethan Kath took over the helm for a brief DJ set that slid into full on EDM. With thudding beats, and strobe lights set to blind, Crystal Castles’ live show remains unapologetically maximalist, intense, and danceable.BC, British Columbia, Commodore Ballroom, crystal castles