ACL Live Shot: Crystal Castles

Zilker Park, Oct. 14

The members of Crystal Castles don't show their faces. Ethan Kath hunkers behind an industrial smear of dark electronics, and Alice Glass' popsicle-blue hair flares down her snowy face, eyeliner where her eyes should be. I couldn't get a good look between the strobes, but this is ground zero for the electronic revolution. The Toronto rave duo emerged as basement thrashers, but now they're throwing weight around in the big font of festival posters. Kath's ice-cold synths snake out at crowds, Glass' voice a Frankenstein cluster of filters and knobs. It's "Baptism," a death march of a rager, and the kids go nuts. Nothing but raised hands and scarlet light. There's something curious about how something so severe and ugly can be so appealing, but Crystal Castles sculpts massive power out of dangerous noise. Somehow it becomes pop music along the way. The syncopated grooves make everything move in slow motion. The diminutive Glass swigs Jack Daniels and writhes out on top of the audience. I'm sure somewhere someone's gasping. Just the way they like it.

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