UK outfit Crystal Fighters end their Australian tour with spectacular Sydney performance

  • Larry Heath
  • July 25, 2016
  • Comments Off on UK outfit Crystal Fighters end their Australian tour with spectacular Sydney performance

Acknowledging the crowd put in a pretty solid effort for a Sunday night before they left the stage, UK outfit Crystal Fighters had their Sydney audience singing and dancing along to every track of the hour-or-so set. The show marked the end of their brief run of performances in Australia, which included shows in Melbourne and at Splendour in the Grass.

The group were supported by local outfit Lupa J, who perform as a three piece, complete with live violin, electronic drums and whole pile of ethereal vocals over looped effects. Their sound was solid and engaged well with the excited crowd. Crystal Fighters, meanwhile, had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the minute they walked onto the stage. As someone who goes to a lot of shows, it was rather remarkable to see a crowd singing so energetically to every single song in the set – aided by the fact that they were almost exclusively playing songs from their first two records. Anyone who might have been worried they would fill the set with tracks from their yet-to-be-released third LP would have been quite satisfied, and it ensured the party atmosphere never let up for a moment.

No official details have been released for LP number three, but their Australian shows do officially kick off a world tour that seems to be leading to its release. Both the album, as well as the Australian shows, are the band’s first since the death of their drummer Andrea Marongiu, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014 following the release of Cave Rave the year prior.

This gave the band the opportunity to introduce Australia to their new drummer at the show, while paying tribute to their fallen member, with guitarist Graham Dickson saying towards the end of the main set: “We’re here celebrating reality, love and life,” after which he encouraged the crowd to embrace one and other. He then asked us to make as much noise as possible, rather than a moment of silence, for Andrea and “anyone else you wish was here but is not… so they all know we’re here.””

The crowd erupted in sound, replacing what may have been an emotional moment with something powerful and cathartic. As for the band themselves, they were on point from start to finish, with the six piece delivering a spectacular set that included highlights like “I Love London”, “Plage” and “At Home”, which had a fantastic singalong and closed the main set. Their two track encore opened with the only song that really slowed things down, “Are We One”, and they closed the night with one of their earliest tracks, “Xtatic Truth”. They really are a group that excel live, delivering their music with a high level of energy that puts a lot of other bands to shame, with a tonne of drums and ukuleles thrown in for good measure. And you’re usually treated to three vocalists – Sebastian Pringle, Eleanor Fletcher and Nila Raja – singing simultaneously – which only adds to the aural splendour of it all.

“Bridge of Bones” also saw member Graham Dickson step up to the mic for a verse, proof that just about every member of this band is far too talented for their own good. They’ve got me excited for the next record, too, even if they didn’t play any of it. And given their expectation for the crowd to scream in joy rather than sit in emotional silence over their missing member, I don’t think we’re going to have the sort of emotional record that one might have otherwise expected. And that’s nothing but a good thing; a tribute that seems is only fitting of this great live band.

Check out the full setlist from the night here:

Solar System
Follow
LA Calling
Love Is All I Got
You & I
I Love London
I Do This Everyday
Bridge of Bones
Champion Sound
Plage
Love Natural
At Home
Encore:
Are We One
Xtatic Truth

Photo by Andrew Wade from Splendour in the Grass 2016. The band played at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on 24th July 2016.

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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.