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BASQUE-ING IN THE GLORY
:: Crystal Fighters :: Eagulls :: Get People :: Swansong ::
18 March 2011 / Ruby Lounge / Manchester
By Adam Wheeldon

Upon being introduced to the chaotic blend of English/Spanish electronica that was Crystal Fighters at last year's In The City showcase, there was little doubt that after witnessing such a mesmerising showcase within the confines of Dry Bar, a visit to the Ruby Lounge to catch a full headlining performance from this unique combo was always going to be a major attraction. With electronic music, and Dubstep in particular enjoying a lot of commercial attention, it is refreshing to hear an act who combine a lot of exciting elements of electronica but mash it up with traditional folk rhythms which certainly makes them stand out from the overcrowded scene but should ideally see them gain plenty of attention within this current climate. With latest single 'At Home' enjoying some recent exposure and with festival season fast approaching, the time for Crystal Fighters' fresh blend of sounds could be just round the corner. For the many people gathered inside the Ruby Lounge tonight, it is their reputation as an exciting, energetic live act that will continue to gain them much-deserved attention.

Setting the tone for the evening is a Manchester based artist/remixer and producer who goes under the alias of Swansong. Displaying a subtle blend of electro beats with emotive vocals providing an atmospheric mix that make him an interesting prospect. The ambient nature of the sound is offset by the dark tone of his lyrics and the overall product has elements of Aphex Twin and latter day Radiohead which create an entertaining combination. He is certainly a multi-talented artist who is very confident in multi-tasking on stage to deliver an endearing performance.

Following on from the beats come the guitars in the form of Leeds based five piece Eagulls and their blend of high energy post-punk. A change in tone for the evening but one which is well received from a growing audience. Displaying a raucous mix of heavy riffs and thumping basslines, the band provide an introspective feel to the aggressive tone of their sound that illustrates a thought-provoking melodic side which has a broader appeal. Appearing clearly intoxicated throughout, lead singer George Mitchell swigs cans of Strongow and staggers around the stage kicking fellow band members which grabs attention but adds to the energetic nature of their set. The charismatic frontman displays a lot of passion which is underlined by the frenetic playing of the band to create a sound that make Eagulls a powerful and exciting live act who are well worth investigating.

From the raw intensity of Eagulls come the laidback electro-pop grooves of Get People. The three-piece from London provide a retro 80's influenced electronic sound with bongo and guitar offering an interesting take on their influences. For the most part it is a very warm and safe sound but they have some nice synthesised moments bubbling under the surface that need to be explored more which could really make them stand out. The performance is tight and with many heads bopping away to their smooth harmonies, they appear to have a lot of ideas which could see them gain many more followers.

After taking their name from an unfinished opera which their backing singer's reclusive grandfather had written shortly before his death, Crystal Fighters have a colourful background which is masked by their colourful sound that is replicated to great effect on the live stage. With the Ruby Lounge now suitably rammed, the atmosphere is intense as the band arrive on stage to a wall of electro noise which merges into the thrilling fast-paced techno beats of 'Solar System'. Led by energetic frontman Sebastian Pringle, his hippy demeanour and infectious personality adds to the thrilling combination of electronica and Basque folk that get the crowd dancing and bopping throughout. The traditional rhythms of 'Champion Sound' witness the band adopt a Txalaparta which is a wooden xylophone-like instrument and create an exotic backdrop that could easily be the soundtrack to a summer holiday. They incorporate dubstep in the form of 'Swallow' which sounds dark and epic in this intimate environment, along with the chaotic battle cry of 'I Love London' and the punk riffs of 'I Do This Everyday', reiterate the fact that Crystal Fighters are one of the most exciting live acts around at the moment as the sound is raw and unique and is replicated by a pumped up audience who are loving every minute. Finishing off with recent single 'At Home' which has an upbeat yet emotive feel to it and with it the "Yeah, Yeah" chanting that wouldn't feel out of place in a field somewhere this summer, and the traditional energetic beats of set closer 'Xtatic Truth' add a thrilling finale to what has been a memorable evening. With an innovative album behind them and an exciting live show perfected, the summer is now waiting for Crystal Fighters to truly shine.


Resources:
Crystal Fighters
Eagulls
Get People
Swansong

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