The Crystal Method are legends in the DJ/Club/Techno/Electronica scene having formed in Los Angeles in the early 90’s and had early club hits ''Now is the Time" and "Keep Hope Alive". They proceeded to release three studio records and a number of mix compilations as well as touring across the world.
Flash forward to the present and The Crystal Method are releasing their fourth studio album and touring for the first time in five years as a live act. Armed with a press pass I set out to Metropolis in Montreal to catch this intense duo as they perform their first Canadian city as part of the Divided by Night tour. I decided to live Twitter the event as well and the transcript can be found on my main blog.
Metropolis is a large and trendy club in downtown Montreal. The auditorium sized room is bowl shaped and filled with speakers and elaborate lighting as well as four active bars. Entering the club at 8:20 I was shocked to see a large crowd was already on hand and a talented young DJ, DJ Skratch Bastid, was holding court in the center of the club. Getting close to his turntables I could see that Skratch Bastid was enjoying himself and his formidable mixing was earning cheers from the crowd.
The main stage was still covered awaiting The Crystal Method but the energy in the club was very high thanks to DJ Skratch Bastid's energetic set. His hands were a blur as he mixed and scratched on his turntables. Thanking the crowd he signed off and the rapidly filling club turned toward the main stage as we awaited the boys to start their set.
Within minutes they walked on stage and I was nearly blown off my feet by the opening beats as the initial mixes blasted out of the multitude of speakers. Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland have their own tables and the sheer scope of their equipment was enough to impress the hell out of me. I am sure other acts simply drool over it.
Standing near the stage I had no choice but to move and dance as the expertly mixed tracks washed over me. As I twittered ‘can't stop moving, these guys know their business’ they were constantly moving, playing, mixing sounds, tones, and tracks together as effortlessly as I text on my phone. The stage setup was absolutely amazing with two huge circular displays framing the boys and cycling through images and pulsing videos.
They quickly played ‘Divided by Night’ from their new album of the same name (which was killer). As the show progressed I noticed that aside from some modulated speaking there were no songs featuring lyrics during the set. Generally their albums are a mix of vocal and non-vocal tracks, in fact their first single, the amazing "Drown in the Now," features the Jewish reggae rapper Matisyahu. While I really like "Drown in the Now" I generally prefer their tracks with no vocals so this set really resonated with me.
As The Crystal Method proceeded to perform the energy level in the club was incredibly high. Most were moving and dancing to the amazing mixes (me included) and the boys seemed to be enjoying themselves. The entire production was top notch with a varied and spectacular light show, amazing technical sound production and near flawless playing from The Crystal Method.
The only downside was that I felt it was over far too soon. They took the stage just after 9PM and were done by 10:40 PM. I was also really surprised that there was no post show act, by 11PM the club was emptying and the lights were raised. The energy level in the club was so high and then crashed a short time laterr.
Luckily Montreal is a city that never sleeps and I was able to keep partying at various clubs until nearly 5AM, but none of the other DJ’s came anywhere close to The Crystal Methods sheer mixing genius. Their set was legendary (if a little short) and is one of my top club experiences to date.
The Crystal Method are currently performing a North American tour and their new album, Divided by Night, can be sampled via stream at iLike. I would highly recommend that anyone who enjoys Electonica or the club/DJ scene make an effort to attend their shows.