Fans of Crystal Fighters can attest to two undeniable truths about them: One, that the band’s sound cannot be compartmentalized in any modern day label, and two, that very few shows can ever live up to the energy and drive that fuels a Crystal Fighters show.
And the Fighters’ show at Webster Hall last night was no exception. The music began with Gilbert Vierich’s echoing bass, followed by a shirtless Graham Dickinson offering hair-raising guitar riffs. As the rest of the members made their way onstage, the sound peaked with the entrance of vocalist Sebastian Pringle. Mixing South Asian guru vibes with a sequined top and sunglasses, Pringle’s comical but endearing image of a partying hippie-esque shaman had already won the crowd over. Delivering the opening lines to “Solar System,” Pringle’s harmonious electronic sounds immediately had the crowd under his thumb, where they would stay for the rest of the night.
From the radiating light spectacles to the basque-influenced electro-rock encircling the venue, the show was all-encompassing. The crowd was a sea of wild dancing fans, singing along to songs like “Plage.” Pringle danced around stage with quirky mannerisms, shouting to the audience to “get a rave in this cave.” During “I Do This Everyday,” the crowd fully abandoned themselves to the music. Crowd surfing was abundant and the infamous Webster Hall floor shook, a fact Pringle himself acknowledged as he started to dance more vigorously.
Usually at a show, you can predict by the energy of a song whether or not it’ll be the band’s last. For Crystal Fighters, however, it seemed like every song was an encore. The dubstep-influenced “Swallow,” complemented by seizure-inducing lights and chaotic, electronic sounds had the crowd throwing everything they had into their dance moves, with Pringle breaking it down extra hard onstage. During “In The Summer,” the audience proved Pringle’s statement that “[people] in the USA don’t like drum-and-bass” wrong by hurling themselves further into the musical hedonism.
After closing with the radio-friendly song “At Home,” the band disappeared behind stage. Rather than reappear after a few measly whines for another song or two, Crystal Fighters made sure the crowd really wanted the encore. After a full three minutes of fans pleading for another song, the band took the stage for a two-song encore. “I Love London” fit right in with the set list, giving anyone feeling the least bit tired the energy to keep on keeping on. To end the night, opening act Alpine joined Crystal Fighters for “Xtatic Truth.” After an hour and a half of electro-rock and Energizer Bunny energy, the crowd unwillingly said goodbye to Crystal Fighters—at least until the next time the enigmatic band decides to grace New York City with one of its “cave raves.”
Photos by Suyi Tay.