Crystal Fighters & Alpine [Show Review]


Up until a few hours prior to the show I had no idea that Alpine was opening for Crystal Fighters. In a lot of ways seeing these guys on the bill brought me some closure on the past year. Nearly every weekend during my past summer in Maine I would throw on "Hands" by Alpine. Over the past year I have been ticking off the groups from those summer playlists as I have been fortunate enough to find myself in situations where I can catch their shows.

Sure enough, Alpine opened with "Hands." Oddly, the two tracks I was anticipating most, "Hands" and "Gasoline," left me unsatisfied. Luckily the slack was picked up by every other song the Australians performed, notably "Villages." After catching Alpine it is fairly evident why they were chosen to open for Crystal Fighters throughout the world tour, they simply deserve it and are laden with talent. Though jet lagged,they didn't show it as they gave a driven performance, noticeably fronted by pink romper clad Lou James and her equally loveable counterpart Phoebe Baker. There were not nearly enough fellow concert-goers there yet for Alpine. Their loss though as they missed a great buildup for the second act of the night, Crystal Fighters.

Crystal Fighters

After what seemed like an eternity, Crystal Fighters took the stage at the Holocene in Portland around 10:45 Friday night. It was a painfully long wait that had me downing two beers in the interim but this was soon forgiven once Gilbert Vierich, Graham Dickson, and Andrea Marongiu took to the stage. It began and ended with blazing energy. Together the three launched into snyth-heavy, drum-heavy, and guitar-heavy jam before the remaining members stormed the stage, transitioning into "Solar System." Given that I have only just arrived in Portland, I unfortunately ended up attending the concert alone. Typically it takes a lot to get me moving out in public if I am alone, believe me, I get dancing a plenty in the comfort of my own home. It says a lot then that from the middle of "Solar System" onward dance gripped me non-stop.

"Solar System" was followed by Champion Sound before "L.A. Calling", the first track from Cave Rave to be performed that night, was met with plenty of cheers. The standout moment of the show for me was "Love Natural" probably because I had the realization that there is no way that I can follow a career path after graduation next year that does not heavily involve music, c'mon people give me a job! Another standout moment(s) had to be whenever Vierich and Dickson wailed on the Txalaparta, a wooden Basque percussion instrument.

Overall, a great concert that left me racking my brain for anyway I could be critical, but honestly other than the lengthy wait at the front end I have nothing to critique. They nearly played through there entire discography and were thoroughly engaged with the audience throughout. The Fighters threw in a two song encore of "I Love London" and "Xtatic Truth," the songs that first out them on the map. An incredible value for the mere $13 I paid and an experience I would recommend to anyone.


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