"...if people aren't singing along they're cheering, hands swaying side to side if they're not holding a lighter."
Ella Thompson skips across stage in sparkling purple pants as GL kick proceedings off in the packed band room of Corner Hotel. This charismatic duo groove their way into the hearts of the crowd as Thompson weds heavy synth with an impressive vocal range, enveloping the cheering crowd in a loved up sense of euphoria. The music is like a modern take on '80s pop and blonde-haired Thompson weaves through dub-sounding disco with catchy lyrics to boot.
Before a note is played, an already topless Graham Dickson walks on stage to a screaming crowd. Soon, the beautiful Nila Raja and Ellie Fletcher join the now increasing folktronica beat that's about to crescendo on this Cave Rave's participants. A drummer, keyboardist Gilbert Vierich and a love-filled hippy-esque Sebastian Pringle join the stage and Crystal Fighters are now in full swing. The six-piece crammed on stage seem no strangers to the proximity they now share, as single Follow echoes through the room. This is a group that has a string of singles under their belt and as LA Calling begins, we can see the cave getting a little sweaty. Pringle effortlessly portrays an inviting sense of love and acceptance. "Love is all I got" is dancing across the lips of everybody in the room and after the singer asks his crowd to hug the person on their left and right, we've shaken off the judgement we all run from daily.
Bridge Of Bones unifies the crowd — if people aren't singing along they're cheering, hands swaying side to side if they're not holding a lighter. Seeing two of the Fighters playing what appears to be planks of wood (apparently called a txalaparta) is nothing short of breathtaking. Pringle requests a respectful cheer for drummer Andrea Marongiu who tragically passed in 2014, which undoubtedly can be heard in whichever 'realm' he's now in.
Then, we "went to the beach". Single Plage sweeps the audience straight back to their rave. Their mix of old and new material is impressively creative as the crowd chant At Home lyrics in chorus. Songs from Star Of Love bring the brilliant set to a close. This was not a rehearsal for Splendour In The Grass, this was a set worthy of headlining it.
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