Words & Images by: Andrew Bruss
The Crystal Method :: 05.06.09 :: House of Blues :: Boston, MA
The Crystal Method's tour inaugurating performance at Boston's House of Blues had everyone getting down and dirty on the dance floor, but what occurred on stage left the feeling that the set was more of a dress rehearsal for the rest of the tour.
DJ Melee spun it up from the soundboard while the venue gradually filled in. The event seemed significantly undersold, but since the venue is known for over-selling, the extra room made dancing a whole lot more enjoyable. The Crystal Method eventually took the stage, backed by a massive lighting rig, to the cheers of hundreds of wound up fans, and tore into the title track off their recent release, Divided By Night. They followed it up with one of their older fan favorites, "Vapor Trail," off their game-changing debut, Vegas.
After "Vapor Trail," they brought things down a bit so folks didn't burn out too quickly, moving into some more mellow mixes that let people groove out and catch their breath. One of the most interesting aspects of the night was the demographic that The Crystal Method drew. There was a pretty even mix of college kids on club drugs and late Gen-X'ers who felt nostalgic after having dug the electronica duo way back when.
The act followed up some mellower grooves with "Double Down Under," another tune off the latest release. But, for a group with a new album about to drop, the degree to which they leaned on their freshman debut felt odd. Provided, they gave their fans exactly what they wanted, but they seemed almost uninterested in tackling their newer material in the live spectrum. Their performance of Vegas's "Busy Child" only seemed to verify the emphasis they placed on the back-catalogue.
As tight as the beats were and as trippy as the lighting rig got, the duo was plagued by technical difficulties throughout the night, hence the dress rehearsal vibe. At one point, Ken Jordan, the more performance oriented half of the Method, was having monitor trouble and talked about the Red Sox and chanted, "Yankees suck," while a roadie worked to get things in gear.
|The Crystal Method :: 05.06.09 :: Boston|
Jordan was consistently engaged with the crowd, dancing around, wagging his finger in the air to direct the audience through the act's many climactic peaks and keeping things in front of the stage energized while his partner in crime, Scott Kirkland, kept his eyes glued on the array of mixers, samplers, keyboards and synthesizers they were engulfed in. Jordan has been known to use his keyboard as a stage prop, sometimes even twirling it above his head during the climax of a tune. But, on the opening night of a tour that was already plagued with technical difficulties, using his gear as a prop was a poor choice. While playing "Trip Like I Do," one of their most famous songs (known for sampling the monologue from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal), Jordan held his keyboard up, sliding his fingers up and down the keys just before the instrument fell into the crowd. Fans in the front caught it and were helpful in getting it back on stage so Jordan's tech guy could get the thing plugged back in. After Jordan's keys were again up and running, he tried pulling the same move, and unfortunately with the same results. But, this time the keyboard almost hit a couple of fans on the head. Clearly frustrated with their "technical difficulties," The Crystal Method called it quits after "Trip Like I Do," abruptly ending their set, sans encore, in a manner that left many in the audience feeling confused when the lights came on.
The majority of the set provided tight, hard hitting beats that got the dance floor worked up. The musical side of things was more than up to par, but the technical aspect of the operation left a great deal to be desired. This was the first night of the tour, so bugs are to be expected.
The Crystal Method is on tour now, dates available here.
For more on The Crystal Method, check our exclusive feature/interview here.
JamBase | Boston
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