Margaret Osborn, better known as her stage name Alice Glass, played the Mod club theatre last Friday as part of Canadian Music Week 2018. One must wonder if there was any trepidation or anxiety about her homecoming show in Toronto since releasing her scathing online statement last Oct accusing former bandmate Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles of years of sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Alice has contended that the #metoo movement had given her the strength to finally come out and voice her trauma, to fight back, which explains a lot about her recent solo EP.
Opening the show, clad in a black leather jacket, Alice crawled her way to the mic, finally standing and leading into her first track, Forgiveness. A track, she later says is not so much about “forgiveness” but how it can be used “to create a false sense of superiority”. The imagery in the lyrics coincide with the large backdrop on stage of the dark woods and Alice’s logo of the eclipse and cross.
The setlist comprised of mainly tracks off of her debut EP, self-titled Alice Glass. A list of tracks that deal with past trauma and I like to think hope — hope in letting it go. Fans were ceremoniously cloaked in all black as like Alice, and there were the odd, “We support you Alice” echoing through the crowd during her set. The show did not sell out as evident by the half empty venue but it didn’t feel half empty at the front and midsection as the crowd gather in solidarity. Fans stretch their hands out in hope to be closer to Alice, and Alice herself came off stage to engage her fans, although you could see some caution taken as her bodyguard was nearby.
The thing I love about Alice Glass is the emotional resonance and rawness of her vocals that has such an immediate impact on the audience. We can hear every shriek piercing our emotional state, like when she howls “Get the fuck off of me” repeatedly during her track “Natural Selection”. On tracks like “Stillbirth” and “Blood Oath” you can feel the electronic dissonance and distortion compliment her vocals. The set ended with “Cease and Desist”, a song about uniting survivors, with Alice telling survivors “promise me, you’re never the victim”, and “promise me, you have to fight”. I’m proud of this woman for courageously coming forward and telling her story. Dealing with any type of trauma is never easy, and sometimes it can be an isolated, painful experience but having resilience and more importantly collective resilience can be empowering.