There is no denying that The Crystal Method is one of the most enduring forces in electronic music. For over 20 years, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland have been creating some of the best dance anthems the industry has ever seen. With solid foundations in hip-hop, pop and soul influencing their signature style of producing, this duo has captivated audiences of every kind.
The Crystal Method is often considered the American reaction to the Chemical Brothers, and with such a varied resumé of musical feats under their belts, I am inclined to agree. From television and advertising, to gaming and soundtracking—they have tackled a diverse portfolio of creative endeavors with innovation and excellence. A personal favorite of mine is their take on Daft Punk’s “The Grid” for the TRON: Legacy soundtrack remix project.
The most recent undertaking for these seasoned vets took place on Thursday night at The El Rey in Los Angeles, CA when Scott and Ken welcomed a live band to perform with them for the very first time. What is already an electric, hair-raising performance was taken to the next level with the addition of live guitar, bass and drums (along with a huge assortment of pads, synths etc.) I have always thought that The Crystal Method feel more like a rock band than an electronic duo and on Thursday night, they expertly brought this ensemble vision to fruition. With a band comprised of past members of NIN and Guns N’ Roses, their music came to life with precision and emotion.
It was mesmerizing to hear some of their classic anthems such re-energized within this newfound dynamic. An all-star cast of guest vocalists also joined the duo throughout the night: Dia Frampton (“Over It”), Richard Patrick of Filter (“Trip Like I Do”), Ryu of Styles of Beyond/Fort Minor (“Name of the Game), and the incomparable Freddy Perez (“Born Too Slow”, “Play For Real”, “Difference”). When vocalists perform live, these tracks truly take on a new personality.
Watching Scott and Ken perform together is such a treat. After 20 years in the industry, it would be easy to become jaded but these guys exude positivity and passion with every move. It was clear to me that they were having the time of their lives;they were so excited to be bringing this new musical experience alive to a sold-out show of die-hard fans. The crowd was diverse, spirited and appreciative, an eclectic mix of young and eager students trying to max out their Thursday night and aging fans excited to don their Burning Man garb of yesteryear once again. It was a beautiful, welcoming environment to re-immerse myself in the timeless music of The Crystal Method.
What’s next? As of now, their only date is January 23rd at Club Cielo in NYC, but with their excellent new album sittin’ pretty at #1 on the iTunes Electronic charts, our fingers are crossed that we’ll see our favorite OG’s of EDM around the festival circuit a bit this season.