For Melbourne’s own Crystal ignite, the journey has not been an easy one. Having endured a difficult youth, the powerhouse vocalist found her way through music. Crystal soon stamped her mark on the industry with her unique style in what was her first real successful foray into the oftentimes male dominated world of rock and metal, with her band Bellusira. And whilst circumstances led to Bellusira  disbanding, Crystal has risen like a phoenix and reincarnated, stronger than ever before, with the passion and vigour which is going to see her reach great heights.

So it was no surprise to see that Crystal had gathered together a great line up for what she named her Birthday Show.  Three local acts, all with different sounds.

First up was local pocket rocket, Karly Jewell and her band. Described as being pop/rock, Karly has a very unique tone and oozes passion for what she does. Having been singing for a long time, Karly nearly gave up on the industry, but found her passion again, and returned with a zest desire to really make a go of it.

‘Feels Like’ and ‘Jenna Rae’ were the first cabs off the rank, followed by ‘Out in the Cold’ and then two new tracks, ‘Sid and Nancy’ and ‘I Won’t Cry’.  Closing her set with a song written especially for the night, ‘Let you Down’. Whilst there were not huge numbers on hand to see the performance, Karly gave it her all, and was doing her best to fully engage the audience she had.

Next up, were a band I had not seen before, BLKLST. I was a little unsure of exactly what was to come, as during their set up and sound check, there were some very unorthodox vocal checks.

The four-piece alternative metal outfit, looking to have considerable youth on their side, came out hitting pretty hard, and whilst I am generally a fan of a cleaner vocal style, I was actually pleasantly surprised by what they brought to the stage.  Full of energy, and musically fairly sound, it was the intensity of the vocals and backing vocals that I found quite the point of difference.

Having been playing together for approximately 5 years, these boys rebranded themselves BLKLST a few years ago, to reflect the direction in which they wanted to take their music. As a tight knit group of friends, they see the band as a representation of this as much as it is an expression of their passion and music.

Punching out tunes like ‘Make Me’, ‘Hypocrite’ and ‘Substance’, they quickly showed the growing audience that they were there to make a statement, and a bold one it would be. I would certainly like to follow these guys and watch what the future may hold, as I feel it could be very good things.

Cicadastone were the next band up to the plate, and as always bring with them a vibe and sound that is just so appealing across the board. With a slightly 90’s feel I would say they could be likened to being similar to Alice in Chains, meets Stone Temple Pilots, with a splash of other influences.

With Mat and Mark Robins on vocals and guitars, their synergy is palpable. And coupled with the likes of Adam Pedretti (Killing Heidi) on drums, and Mick Quee on bass duties, musically these guys are super tight.

Their setlist is dotted with awesome tunes like ‘Second Guessing’, ‘Forgotten Fears’, ‘Shellshock’ and ‘Carbon Copy’.  If you have the opportunity to catch these guys playing, be sure to take it or buy their album “Chance Collide”, as they are fast becoming one of my favourite Melbourne bands.

As the night wore on, and the seemless stage changes took place, it was almost unnoticed as to how quickly the crowd had in fact built. With the room now considerably fuller than before, it was time for Crystal to hit the stage in her very typically energy packed style. Sporting her bright red dreads, and having such talented musicians as Brandon Valentine, Chris Miller, Benny Clark and Alex Cann join her onstage, it was definitely time to get the party going, and what better tune to do that with as an opener but the punchy’ Cachango’.

‘Redemption Queen’, is a very in your face track, about being bullied and the aggression translates perfectly into the music. Crystal’s no holds barred stage presence is always on display during this track, as it is with ‘Dance With Me’

Then, for the uninitiated, it was time for Crystal to unleash some of the brand new material she has been feverishly working on. Songs like ‘45’, ‘Snake’, ‘Written in the Stars’ and ‘Play with Fire’, are some of the killer new tracks, just to name a few. Much of the new material touching on some of the most raw of subject matter, only making the performance that much more dynamic and personal.

Closing out the set with what has become almost a classic of her catalogue, is the power packed “Culprit’, which is always a fan favourite and a great vibe to finish on.

It will be with baited breath that we wait to see what the next instalment of Crystal’s journey brings us.