Gig review: Crystal Stilts, Glasgow

There’s an abundance of stylish bands from Brooklyn making their way in the indie world, not to mention an abundance of bands out there more broadly with the word “crystal” in their name (Crystal Antlers and Crystal Fighters, for example).
Crystal Stilts: Captivating stuffCrystal Stilts: Captivating stuff
Crystal Stilts: Captivating stuff

Crystal Stilts - Mono, Glasgow

* * * *

Neither is an excuse not to seek out Crystal Stilts’ third album, the resplendently murky Nature Noir, a fine, atmospheric case for which was made at this disarmingly awkward show.

Dribbling onstage to the sound of a low organ drone, bassist Andy Adler having moments before been up a stepladder trying to get an overhead projector of trippy visuals to work, these five New Yorkers didn’t exactly ooze natural showmanship. Brad Hargett’s gloomy baritone was mixed so low, and he moved and spoke so reluctantly, he presented a mere suggestion of a frontman at times. But vibe is everything in Crystal Stilts’ book, and they craft it with such slavish attention to detail. Between JB Townsend’s warm, reverby guitar tone – played principally on an oh-so-60s Brian Jones-style teardrop-shaped six-string – and Kyle Forester’s purring retro organ, the looping, psych-washed Sycamore Tree and stomping Through The Floor brought the swagger so the men playing them didn’t have to.

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When the visuals finally locked with the music this was captivating stuff, from the raw Velvets-y rumble of Future Folklore to Shake The Shackles’ feel of the 13th Floor Elevators playing on a runaway train, and the rippling melodies of Nature Noir. Was there an encore? You can figure that out for yourself.