It was a warm fall night this past Thursday, as the line for Warsaw in Greenpoint, NY wrapped around the corner. The Warsaw has been booking indie darling after indie darling and tonight was no exception with Crystal Castles
headlining a show opened by GUIDANCE
and Alex Zelenka. When I first arrived the main room was unusually cold, feeling more like the freezer section at the grocery store than the sweaty affairs concerts tend to be. That feeling did not last long and the atmosphere returned to normalcy by the time GUIDANCE took the stage.
The crowd came to a silence as GUIDANCE's supporting members took to the stage. For a few moments they lingered awkwardly, we in the crowd didn't know what to expect and they didn't want to tell us. The moment was brief, as lead man Stefan Pruett took the stage in a skull onesie that made me check my cell phone to make sure it wasn't Halloween. Many singers interact with their crowds infrequently or not at all, GUIDANCE's Pruett is not one of those singers. From the first song and throughout the entire set the singer would check in with the crowd and promote the idea that crowd participation was a good thing. The music itself matched this attitude, with loud, poppy-sounding beats that got the center of the crowd dancing along. GUIDANCE's set culminated with the Pruett singing the entirety of his song while crowd surfing.
There was a brief intermission until Crystal Castles mounted the stage to "Requiem in D Minor" by Mozart. Ethan Kath took to the boards and transitioned the music to a song off of the album (II),
"Baptism." This is when the new quantity for anyone who had seen the band live prior arrived -- Edith Frances. We already knew that her voice was comparable to previous lead singer, Alice Glass, because of the recently released, Amnesty (1),
but there were still a couple questions. How would the old songs sound performed by this new singer and was there any way possible for her to match the energy of her predecessor?
The answers to these questions were revealed throughout a blinding and loud night. The Warsaw stage was equipped with a massive strobe light that poured itself on the crowd at regular intervals and when paired with the already frantic nature of Crystal Castles' music, it made for a disarray of the senses. Throughout the set old songs were interlaced with a majority of songs being played from the latest released. Edith did remarkably, with every song presented with the necessary amount of intensity to come through over the speakers and to the crowd. The only critique I feel obligated to mention is that the new lead singer feels a bit constrained, never straying too far from her designated radius on the stage. Whereas the former lead singer felt like a feral animal poised to attack the crowd at any moment, the new singer feels trapped in the cage. This is only the first tour for the new line-up though, and it is very likely things may change by the virtue of time and experience alone.