The O2 Academy was overflowing for the Crystal Fighters’ set. With such a large and loyal fan-base, the atmosphere was electric. The room was full of the most wonderful energy. As a band signed to a US label and eliciting much of their sound from traditional Spanish folk music, they are an eccentric bunch: Sebastian Pringle, the lead singer, danced on to stage bare-foot behind some waving flags. There were exotic hats paired with bare-chests and brilliant colours. The band have a strong and vivacious presence that goes hand-in-hand with their powerful sound.
The night began with the energetic ‘Follow’, a brilliant track that instantaneously put the audience in the palms of their hands. Virgin Music have stated that their music is perfect for the "trans-continental, scene-crossing, cultural explorer". This wonderfully captures the eclectic style that Crystal Fighters bring, which was highlighted by the multi-culturally influenced, ‘I Love London’ that they played half way through the set. I have always found this track to have an Asiatic feel to it (whether this was intended or not), specifically reminiscent of the buzz of Tokyo.
Crystal Fighters’ music has a truly evocative effect on the listener; the ability to invoke mind states such as love, euphoria and even homesickness. The crowd was brought to an emotional peak when their guitarist, Graham Dickson, asked everyone to join hands with the person next to them and shout, in order to be heard by Andrea Marongiu (their late drummer who died in September 2014). Graham mentioned that Andrea spent some years of his life in Bristol and that the O2 Academy was his old “stomping ground”, which was incredibly moving.
The roller coaster continued with the more upbeat song from their new album, ‘Good Girls’, which brings about a real love for the power of femininity. After a raucous call for an encore, Crystal Fighters played the crowd a beautifully uplifting ‘Plage’. The night then ended with a wild rendition of ‘Xtatic Truth’, a track which has unerringly remained a personal favourite since the age of 14. Throughout the set there was a running theme of universal love; a constant across the hectic, electric parts and the softer, more peaceful moments. All in all, an immensely exciting experience and an exceptional set.