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The Crystal Method gives a good trip

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The Crystal Method spins the night away for a full house at Rain on Saturday, January 17.
Photo: Richard Brian

The electronic vibrations running through my body at Rain on Saturday night gave off a slightly sexually charge.

Rolling Stone agrees with me, stating in their 2004 Album Guide, “At their best, [The Crystal Method] partners Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland match power and hooks in dance tracks that throb with raw inspiration and intense sexual energy.”

That “intense sexual energy” is prominent in their most popular track, “Trip Like I Do,” which features a girl’s voice sexily murmuring, “Oh my god, this is the best … uh… mmm…I want you to trip like me, I want you to have fun, me and you …” The audio was taken from a real voicemail message left on Scott Kirkland’s answering machine by a girl he met one night at a club.

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The Crystal Method at Perfecto Saturdays
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“Trip Like I Do” alludes to another Crystal Method theme: drugs. It’s pretty obvious what the duo’s name refers to, as well as the title of its second album, Tweekend. (Crystal meth is the street name for methamphetamine, and to "tweek" means to use meth.)

But getting buzzed and turned on are simply subterranean currents of their monolithic music, best described as breakbeat electronic dance music laced with strains of acid, funk, rock and big beat hip-hop.

Their appearance at Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto Saturdays at Rain this past Saturday was a homecoming. Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland both grew up in Vegas and paid tribute to their hometown by naming their popular debut album Vegas.

The Crystal Method @ Rain

The Crystal Method left Vegas to become a prominent fixture in the early '90s L.A. rave scene and went on to become one of the only two electronic dance DJ partnerships to come from Vegas and achieve international fame (Starkillers is the other).

Hailed as pioneers of the big beat electronic dance genre, along with The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method are the only Americans.

On Saturday night, as hundreds of glowstick-grasping partiers danced themselves into oblivion, the now famous Shepard Fairey-designed red-white-and-blue image of Obama’s pensive face flickered between multi-colored strobe lights and hallucinogenic designs upon a massive screen.

One of the many musicians fueled by Obama’s words, The Crystal Method remixed their very first track, “Now is the Time” (originally inspired by a civil rights slogan) to include voice overs from Obama’s powerful acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The hypnotic song, which is available for free download at Thecrystalmethod.com/, mixes swirling synth and reverberating breakbeats with recordings of thousands of clubbers screaming and the DNC audience cheering. The overwhelming sound ceases for a moment as Obama thunders “Enough!”

Getting high off the music, the dark sea of strangers and the otherworldly show was enough for me, but apparently not for my friend. He stumbled out of the club past 3 a.m., threw up between two slot machines and went on a hapless quest for a cab.

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Jennifer Grafiada

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