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WMC 2009: Crystal Castles at Ultra Music Festival

Santiago Felipe
Crystal Castles vocalist Alice Glass at Ultra Music Festival Day 2.
Ultra Music Festival '09: Crystal Castles
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Bicentennial Park, Miami

Better than: Everything else at Ultra -- seriously.

The lights dimmed at the Bayfront Stage at Ultra Music Festival and from the darkness emerged the silhouette of the lead singer Alice Glass, a petite girl who looks like that goth girl in high school who kept to herself and nobody bothered to mess with because everyone thought she might beat the hell out of you. The man in shadows, Ethan Kath, poured synthetic beats over the speakers that sounded similar to their remix for the Klaxon's "Atlantis to Interzone" however it could have been a variation of their song "Knights" from their 2008 debut Crystal Castles.

My first encounter with Crystal Castles was back in 2006. The duo came down Miami several times to the now-defunct Revolver party. But it wasn't until WMC 2007 at Mansion's Mansion Loves Electro party that I got to see what they were made of. Glass shrieked her way through the set while crawling on the floor. Most people in attendance either looked toward the stage with confusion or simply made a quick exit to the adjacent room.

However, last night the duo received a much different reaction from the crowd. Hoards of underage teenage hipsters screamed for Glass in a Beatle-esque fashion. She paid no attention to them as she chugged on a full-size bottle of Belvedere. In fact, she looked wasted as she rolled around on the floor in a way I can only describe as a spot-on Courtney Love impersonation.

Along with a live drummer, Kath and Glass churned out song after song, including "Through the Hosiery," "Crimewave," "Black Panther," "Courtship Dating" and the unreleased track "Yes No."

It was during their live performance of "Crimewave" that I decide I was witnessing perhaps the best performance at Ultra Music Festival. The stage filled with smoke to the point that the duo was completely hidden, except for the backlighting which revealed that Glass' silhouette had climbed up on the DJ table that Bloody Beetroots and LA Riots had used earlier in the day.

All of a sudden during "Yes No" Glass, with Belvedere bottle in hand, leap/crawled/tripped over the stage onto the speakers lined up in front of the stage and then proceeded to climb on the barricade. Everyone bum-rushed the stage as she handed away the vodka bottle and proceeded to attempt to crowd surf. This shit was seriously about to turn into a punk rock concert! The seemingly annoyed security detail kept pulling her back, tugging on her shirt.

Finally, upon being forcebily returned to the stage by security, Glass ended the show by throwing the wired microphone into the crowd and drunkenly waving goodbye. The crowd demanded an encore but security came on to the stage to let everyone know that Crystal Castles wouldn't be coming back.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I've loved loud and aggressive chiptune acts since the days of Atari Teenage Riot.

Random Detail: Timbaland has been accused of stealing the beat for 50 Cent's "Ayo Technology" from Crystal Castles' track "Courtship Dating," Then again, Crystal Castles has been accused of "borrowing" beats as well.

By the Way: Crystal Castles was perhaps one of my favorite albums of 2008.

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Jose D. Duran has been the associate web editor of Miami New Times since 2008. He's the voice and strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's music, entertainment, and cultural scenes since 2006, previously through sites such as MiamiNights.com and OnBeat.com. He earned his BS in journalism with a minor in art history from the University of Florida. He's a South Florida native and will be a Miami resident as long as climate change permits and the temperature doesn't drop below 60 degrees.
Contact: Jose D. Duran

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