Can Alice Glass deliver as a solo act?? After her show at The Observatory North Park, we can affirm the answer is yes.
Not that we ever had any doubt. Glass has been commanding the stage and captivating audiences for years as the former frontwoman for dark wave synth pop band Crystal Castles. Since splitting from Crystal Castles, she released a self-titled EP and set off on a solo tour, including a string of shows where she opened up for Marilyn Manson.
Tuesday’s show at The Observatory not only fell in the midst of her first-ever solo tour but was also scheduled one night before her former band planned to take the stage at the same venue.
Given the contentious nature of the split, was the scheduling tactic purposeful to fuel the continuing feud? Or merely a coincidence? Adding to the tension, Glass released a statement on the day of the show accusing Crystal Castle’s co-founder, Ethan Kath, of years of abuse. Subsequently, Crystal Castles canceled their Observatory show along with several others on their tour.
All tension with ex bandmate aside, Glass delivered musically.
For those of you who were left with a void when she split from Crystal Castles that only this mesmerizing woman performing live can fill, the electronic pop gods have heard your requests loud and clear. Alice Glass is back.
Just as the audience began to grow impatient after enduring two opening DJs who were more interested in taking selfies than getting the crowd hyped, Glass’s bandmates somberly sauntered onstage. Glass emerges and the mood of the entire room shifts. The strobe lighting pierces the air as sharply as Glass’s vocals as she opens with “Stillbirth”.
She still knows how to perfectly balance soft moments contrasted with stretches of unleashing and wailing. Whereas at times the vocals in Crystal Castles got lost in the overall sound, Glass’s solo work showcases more clarity in her vocals with a pop focus.
You can feel the pain in her voice as she sings, “Am I worth it or am I worthless” from her single “Without Love”. Possibly the most jarring performance of the night occurred when she performed “Natural Selection“, screaming the chorus lyrics, “Get the f*ck off of me!” in agony.
For the remainder of her performance, Glass bounces back and forth, whipping her hair and chanting her anthems to the audience. Her interaction with her fans is certainly one factor that’s remained steadfast in her performances in both bands. No matter how many times security plucked Glass from the crowd, she continued to thrust herself offstage into her fans arms. She very briefly mentioned the Kath situation stating, “Everyone has a story. I’m not special. Everyone’s story is just as important as everyone else’s.” Then, with a polite “thank you” she jumps right back into the audience.
We’re certainly intrigued and plan to follow Glass on her journey as a solo artist. Will she release a full album and continue to tour? Will her solo performances ever evoke the same emotion as hearing her perform Pap Smear or Courtship Dating live? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps that’s precisely Glass’s intention.