Gig review for The Skinny
Crystal Stilts are all about intensity. And in a space as small as Sneaky Pete’s (imagine your living room, minus furniture, plus 100 indie misfits), the intensity of their music – a murky blend of ’60s psych and ’80s shoegaze – is turned up to eleven. Whereas their acclaimed debut album Alight of Night has moments of clarity and restraint, in live mode the Brooklyn five-piece cram every second of every track full of lumbering bass, stabbing guitar, trippy organ and rushed drumming, while Brad Hargett somehow makes his unintelligible vocals waft and echo around the tiny room. Like The Doors, Joy Division or the Mary Chain, this is the kind of brooding, stormy musical terrain where you don’t so much listen for the chorus (there ain’t one) as feel the electricity in the performance. Although the set is punctuated by jokes about the dry ice machine, Crystal Stilts build the atmosphere ominously, before cracking it asunder with aptly-named set-closer Departure.