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The Crystal Method @ the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jul. 4, 2008
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Stateside, raves seem harder and harder to come by these days. Still, the rain-slicked aluminum bleachers of Summerfest seemed an oddly perilous dance venue for the return performance of the low-profile big beat pioneers, The Crystal Method.

Taking the helm from DJ Dieselboy in mid-beat, Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan arrived with a blas casualness that seemed to pervade the whole evening, underscoring the intensely omnipresent volume.

Kirkland, as the Pesci to Jordan’s De Niro, played the group’s flamboyantly mischievous half, tagging out of duty frequently to stalk the stage and giving himself devil horns while the more stoic Jordan manned the decks.

Confined to a DJ booking, the pair stuck mainly to their remix guns. Jordan headed up pre-planned mixes like The Bee Gees’ ever-present “Stayin’ Alive” (complete with synched visuals) while Kirkland periodically parlayed a more ambitious type of breakbeat improv, which often disappointingly spun-out into a piercing, unintelligible audio mess.

“We have to be louder than John Mayer!” an admittedly intoxicated Kirkland exclaimed atop stage equipment to the delight of the crowd and visible concern of peripheral stage personnel.

The night was much in the vein of the duo’s Community Service remix series, albeit not quite as clean sounding, or re-inventive. Tracks like Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in the Fire” appeared with hardly a hint of alteration, while the pair slyly interjected only slivers of their own hits like “Keep Hope Alive,” and “Born Too Slow.”

Competing with acts like Mayer and The Alkaline Trio, Kirkland and Jordan drew a sizable, enthusiastic crowd, and ample glow sticks. Yet, it still felt like another missed opportunity to showcase their real talent for original composition through a sorely needed, revitalizing live tour. Kirkland vowed they would be back soon, and next time, sober.


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