Good music’s always personal. Not simply between the artist and his work, but between the music and its listeners, setting a mood for the day, offering an escape for the week. Saturday night came too slowly for me, after weeks of nagging work, but it finally came. And so I was more than happy to go to Mohawk and listen to tour buddies Active Child and School of Seven Bells, who proved that—even during ACL hipster hell chaos—we can find peace in music and comfort in its followers.
The Active Child and Seven Bells combo is one of the most symbiotic I’ve witnessed, at least in a while. Both bands’ music were perfectly fitting not only with each other, but for the eerie calm of the night at Mohawk patio.
|Active Child at Mohawk|
Los Angeles-based Pat Grossi, aka Active Child, opened the show to an expectant crowd who showed their support well throughout the set, swaying and cheering, never still. There was a permanent echo through the first half of the night—Active Child’s ghost-like wailing, the beautiful and modern electro synth-pop mixes bounced off the patio walls, like music lingering in nature. It was fantastic to witness, that simple commitment that never flailed, not once. If anything, Active Child’s mixes seemed almost out of place, too unsettling and soothingly dramatic for an ordinary Saturday night.
School of Seven Bells took the stage to a hungry audience, maybe having to do with the fact that the group includes a very attractive pair of twins, Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. To many’s disappointment—including my boyfriend’s, ahem—Claudia was M.I.A. But the show went on, and the band did an incredible job despite the twin’s absence. Seven Bells’ music is definitely personal, not because it tells stories of lovers past, but because there’s an obvious connection that could be seen while they were playing, an honest-to-God incendiary chemistry between playmates that only helped their angelic—and very indie rock—melodies.
If there was one turn-off during their set, it was the lack of interaction with the crowd—it wasn’t til the second-to-last song that they finally spoke, letting us know it would be their last. After that came an encore, before which guitarrist Benjamin Curtis took the time to say, “We love you guys, really.” This struck a little hypocritical for several people I overheard, snarking at the band’s dryness with the audience. There is a certain level of importance to a band’s interaction with its crowd, because it can make or break a show. Some bands take the stage, completely unknown, and win and charm us through their witty banter or flirty smiles. The audience feels as if for one night, they get a short and sweet relationship with the artist, and School of Seven Bells didn’t deliver.
But their music, the aspect of the utmost importance, was a definite win—cloudy and hazy yet fluid, always exciting. Enigmatic. The set ended on a high note, finishing off with a climax of cascading guitars, and that was it. It was a short show, a fast one. But hey, at least for me, both Active Child and School of Seven Bells provided just what I needed—true escape.
School of Seven Bells and Active Child performed at Mohawk on Oct 9.