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Crystal Fighters @ O2 Academy (18/11/2016)

After hearing many raving reviews from friends, and combined with my own interest in going to see Crystal Fighters, I did not hesitate to take on this review. Touring their most recent album, ‘Everything Is My Family’, Liverpool was the final destination on the UK part of their European tour. Crystal Fighters are a band that I really like recorded, but was not too sure what to expect live. All I had pictured in my head was colourful staging and fans covered in glitter, so I adorned the most flowery top I could find and braved the horrendous weather to get to the O2 academy.

Glitter I was not wrong about. The fans really went to town with their outfits, making me feel highly inadequate. I noticed that there was a fair amount of European fans there too, showing the breadth of support this band have. This definitely stems from the huge influence of Basque instruments and Spanish pop in their music. Coinciding with the dramatised look of the audience was the ethereal stage set up. Even without the lighting I could clearly see the bright, mesmerising patterns of the backdrop completed with the vine covered microphone stands. This made me excited for what I was going to see and hear.

Despite the late start, the crowd were still energised when the 5 piece took to the stage. The upbeat and catchy song ‘Follow’ was their opener, creating a really captivating start to the gig. Positivity and joy are a huge theme in their music, this is reflected in songs like ‘Yellow Sun’ and ‘LA Calling’. I could not help but smile and dance. Their poly-rhythmic music really does encapsulate the phrase ‘feel good’.

A particular highlight was the performance of ‘Love Is All I Got’ and ‘All Night’. The synthetic dance music fused with folk lyrics creates an interesting and unique sound, something which is conveyed really well live and recorded. The tribal sounding ‘All Night’ was a real crowd pleaser and really did make me feel like I was at some exotic carnival, and not like I had just made my way through a hail storm in Liverpool. The use of live percussion, through instruments such as the txalaparta (a double manned wooden xylophone) was really impressive and added another element to the show.

Within the eccentricity and madness of the show, there was a really touching moment dedicated to the band’s late drummer, Andrea Marongiu. Everyone raised their arms and had a huge ‘high five’ ceremony, and the song ‘Lay Low’ was dedicated to him. Spirits were not dampened however, and the crowd were soon dancing again to hits such as ‘Love Natural’ and ‘You & I’.

Crystal Fighters are definitely unique and may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying that you cannot help feeling good after listening to them. The energy and attention to detail that they put into their shows is on another level, and I really admire the optimism and love that they portray through their music and live shows – something which is missing and really needed within the world right now.

Crystal Fighters definitely brightened up my mood on that damp, Liverpool day.

Photo credit: Jackson Grant – http://jjacksongrantt.com/

Naomi Gillies


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