For a lineup that kept leaving me under-impressed, the one-two punch that was Washed Out and Crystal Castles – at 9 p.m and 10 p.m., respectively – at least held my undivided attention under the glow of the Space Needle.
Both delivered trippy performances, aided by fantastic light shows. Washed Out was a good trip. Crystal Castles was like watching an hour-long murder scene in a David Lynch movie.
I’ll start with the latter: Just as Crystal Castle band members like to obscure their faces in publicity shots, the three piece remained but silhouettes for most of the set, as strobing red and blue lights were the only thing illuminating the stage. That said, the shadow puppet that was Alice Glass put on a spectacle, bouncing around the stage like a 90-pound gymnast. With Crystal Castles dominated by pummeling bass and drums, Glass’ singing always seems to be incidental, but live she thrived in her role as cheerleader, getting the crowd fired up with ample head banging and crowd surfing (or whatever it was: she would climb into the crowd and have them hoist her upright, all while wearing a tiny black skirt and blouse that didn’t cover her mid-drift.)
The former set was less theatric, but also less jarring. Washed Out delivered their melancholy synth rock as home videos and nature films were projected on the screen behind them. The effect was gorgeous, as both music and scenery swelled and overcame the outdoor crowd enjoying the perfect evening.