It's safe to say that Toronto club duo Crystal Castles are the first dance music act that's programmed by an ex-member of a GG Allin tribute band. But whereas the late shock rocker liked to throw his excrement like a chimp at the zoo, Crystal Castles front-woman Alice Glass keeps her GG-ness to crowd baiting, stage diving and the occasional punch to the face to those who dare touch her naughty bits when she flings herself on top of them.
Glass' fanboy fisticuffs are the primary reason the 'Castles get attention outside of the alty-dance scene, and that's too bad, as her primal energy intertwines nicely with producer/DJ/svengali Ethan Kath's P.I.L.-in-a-laptop on winning disco tracks like "Yes No." On the other hand, without Glass stirring the pot, Crystal Castles would be just another faceless dance music act, albeit with a drum set onstage.
The debate on whether Crystal Castles is a track act or a live band or a hybrid of both elements is probably of little interest to their fans who will pack out Grand Central Saturday night. They just want to dance off their badonkadonks and shout along with Glass.
But it does make one wonder if live instruments are finally going to be expendable to the hipsters who historically have propelled live music. The brisk sales of "Rock Band" (the video game) says "no" - but Kath's abandonment of guitar rock in favor of bedroom music experiments and pressing the return key in public says "yes".