all photos: Ryan Wakeman
Wake up on Easter, Coffee, Food, Beer, Sun, Bocce, Beer, Bike, Nap, Food, Beer, Get Pitted, Car, Ryan, Aaron, Stories, Jesse’s Awesome, Drive North, Phoenix, Sun Setting, Search for Beer, Gross Food, Get Lost, Ottobar, Beer, Beer, Sit, HEALTH, Stunned, Elated, Pleased with abilities of fellow young men, Crystal Castles, Surprised, Dancing, Taken, Feeling sexy, Beer, Search for Jesse, Car, Miss Exit, Stories, Bed.
Hi. I didn’t start this review until late because the day/show was too awesome to write about.
First of all the day was Epic. Moods were teeming in the car. Sun was golden.
I only saw three bikes outside the club. Is Baltimore not safe to bike in? I’m really asking.
All bullshit aside. Holy Fuck. What music! What Light. What the fuck music is so good right now. Everywhere, but especially on Easter at Ottobar.
Space Mountain: These two dudes (i think guys) were sporting Venetian masks (the kind with the beak like in Eyes Wide Shut) and had lights strapped to everything. People were dancing, getting light thrown at them, and the duo was having fun with their new software. Sounded good and they would make any dark space both scary and fun on an easter twilight. However I was still drunk and went and sat on couches upstairs to stare at people and re-create that family living room feel in the great bar space they offer.
Thrust Lab: Two debut members and a good deal of pre-recorded playback. I enjoyed this band during their short set- great vocal effects- but I have to say I mostly entertained myself by trying to figure out which layers were pre-recorded and which were coming across live.
Drink Water. Get stoked when I see people from DC. Get ready.
HEALTH. This is one of the most impressive live sets I have seen by a new band like this. Possessed, enchanted, just better. Good on its own and good because it is different. Crashing, repetition and bursts make a cacophony that makes sense and creates something, gives you access to something that wasn’t there before. They let their bodies/minds gush, flail. What they do with their equipment is really grand, everything is well mic’d so the sound is next level and their athletic efforts are heard. The set evoked nothing like what their album did and this is a gifted experiment of a band. Artists all of them, and apparently at some kind of peak performance, because I saw maximum output by the entire bands physical reserve. They were tempting a buried force in me, if I remember correctly. I am really not kidding. They made me feel primal.
My mouth was actually open. As expected, when they ended it was like in the movie theater after a superlative movie and you absently watch the credits, trying to discern what happened. See them soon. They are coming here soon. See them when that happens, I bet BYT will tell you about in six different ways. Also I think they are playing with the Apes, so go.
Crystal Castles. This is hard to write about. They have to be the sexiest public act out there. Their sound was harder than conventional dance beats with rock rhythm and rises and a vocal track that is new and welcome. The beats are fucking tantalizing and the stage show was just hot. Ethan Kath is a giant in my book already. And the drum kit as backer sealed it for me. Crystal Castles is on. They will be hyped to an even greater degree and their live show at Ottobar on easter showed me it will be well-placed and probably all true. Alice Glass and her eye make up spend the whole time in strobe lights luring you in to her pared down howls and moans, using a human rawness that is so welcome in electronic music and a heavy light show. They are original and exciting and yes Alice Glass is sex.The whole room was dancing hard, and I think my cohorts were front and center surrounded by twenty year olds and the fantasy and demons pouring out of Crystal Castles.
Other notes: Ottobar is fucking rad. Baltimore dresses well, or at least dresses with affection. Little bands and strips of color were tied on to bodies e, drawing your eye. Next level care has been taken for this young Baltimore set and people in D.C. look way more stressed out and sleep deprived. I like to feed D.C.’s misguided and annoying perception that it is lame by saying things like this: Baltimore has a seven story co-op building called CopyCat that you can live in for like 200 dollars a month.
A real devil-may-care attitude resides in Baltimore. Just an Attitude mostly. Harder to write about sitting at my desk in D.C., but its there, underneath all the bangs. We thought maybe less people sit at desks in Baltimore?
This might be a rushed review but I have to catch a plane to Vegas, I’ll see you all when I get back.
(side note: if you love Crystal Castles and are into listening to the album BEFORE buying it go here and stream away)