Live Review
CRYSTAL STILTS AT CARGO
Crystal Stilts
Cargo
Shoreditch, London
30/03/11

People have a slight problem with Crystal Stilts and it’s interesting to see it lived-out a year and a half or so after a Bardens Boudoir show rammed with adoring hipsters. What naysayers take for aloofness we’ve been inclined to see as laid-back realism, like they’re not prepared to be too into their own music.

The impermeable quality to their personality gets tested at this show when a drunk girl (of your nightmares, not fantasies) gets on stage, dances awkwardly, fucks up some equipment, pulls off a monitor and throws beer over Brad Hargett.

As he and his troupe – who, by the way, have been playing mainly new material (straight west-coast 60s grooves with Love-esque balearicisms and bouts of thundering guitar noise) – carry on and crack some good-humoured asides – “I thought you liked us? I don’t understand the dynamic… did you call me a nerd?”, “You’ll be happy to know she’s French, not English”. The response to this and the tunes (paired with ace psychedelic visuals) is lacklustre. It’s not so much Stilts’ fault as it is gig-goers’ failure to devolve their opinions from the ups and downs of hype and backlash that (rather unfairly) determine the fate of groups like this.

By Edgar Smith

Originally published in issue 27 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. April 2011