Sunday, March 09, 2014

Crystal Stilts, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, March 8, 2014)

It’s a happy coincidence that this year we had two excellent gigs happening in town around our blog’s birthday (March 6th) so we could celebrate our 6th Blogger anniversary in style while having the opportunity to gather interesting material for the posts that kick off our 7th season!

You’ve already read all about Tuesday’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show here; let’s have a look now at Crystal Stilts’ live debut in Athens this Saturday at the Gagarin 205 club.

The New York-based psychedelic-garage quintet has so far released three albums and several singles and EPs in the six years since coming to prominence with the LP "Alight of Night" in 2008. It was around that time that we first had the opportunity to catch them live at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival, and not that much has changed with the band’s sound in the interim.

As a rule, change is considered to be a sign of progress for an artist, but I think for bands that specialize in a particular sound, change is not what it’s cracked out to be. Crystal Stilts remain focused on the primal garage rumble of the '60s and the psychedelic melodies of the same era and are willing to go as far as the early '80s to add some ice-cool new wave atmospherics to their dark, melancholic moods. The band hasn’t strayed at all from the mission statement made with its debut album and with the work that followed they were able to dive deeper in the sound they love and produce a considerable wealth of new material that they presented to us live this Saturday.

Their almost 90-minute set (including the two encores) gathered songs from their whole body of work and included even a few non-album tracks ("Sugar Baby", "Dark Eyes", "Still As The Night" - one of their finest moments) that surprised pleasantly their hardcore fans. Other highlights of the night included "Star Crawl", "Through The Floor", "Shake The Shackles", "Half A Moon", "Blood Barons", "Sycamore Tree", "The Dazzled" and "Departure".

A fine performance that was preceded by a strong 45-minute set by Victory Collapse, one of the most consistently good post-punk bands of the local scene.

Victory Collapse, live @ Gagarin 205 (March 8, 2014)

 Crystal Stilts - Through The Floor, live @ Gagarin 205

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