Returning to 170 Russell was like a rush of nostalgia for me. Memories of old gigs and dirty club nights on a Saturday. Nostalgia was certainly the key for this evening’s entertainment, as both The Crystal Method and his support act Black Cab dealt in it as their main theme.
Opening the show was Melbourne’s own Black Cab, a three-piece electronica group with classic roots. With clear inspiration from New Order, the band dealt a constant vibe for their entire set. The drummer played almost entirely 16th notes for the whole show, an incredibly bold move for a live band. That kind of rhythmic consistency is generally limited to raves and prog shows. In this case, it held a strong backbeat and pace for a crowd of mostly 50-somethings to bop along to. Layering on synth pads, arpeggios and effects, the band built a danceable sound with a bright palette. About 10 minutes into the set, the singer began to add a layer of ambient vocals, adding to an already solid sound.
With every song gradually evolving into the next, it was a surprise when their set ended, as it felt like one fantastic long dance hit drawing me further and further in.
Once the main act began, there was almost no stopping him. What was once a duo, is now one man (Scott Kirkland), and The Crystal Method lives on through him. Taking us back to the 90s, to the height of the Big Beat movement, the show was a non-stop rave-ride through the soundscape that defined the genre and the era. The sound featured sampled guitars, huge drums, massive basslines and all contrasted fantastically with insane visuals. These featured spacey sci-fi worlds, cityscapes and even concert footage from stadium shows of yesteryear. It felt like a journey to another time, and I was invited along for the ride.
Half-way through the set, Kirkland took to the microphone to pay tribute to fellow big beat icon, Keith Flint, of The Prodigy fame, who unfortunately passed away in early 2019. He played their mega hit Firestarter, which then blew the lid off an already insane crowd.
Finishing off the show with the hits of Busy Child, Name of the Game and more was the obvious choice, but still sunk in deep with the audience of diehard fans. The real skill was in creating an almost two-hour set of constant big beat bangers, remixes and classics to bring the house down on a night of nostalgia, rave and pure ecstasy.