I wasn't really sure what kind of a show I was getting myself into, but I'd heard both Active Child and School of Seven Bells on a few occasions and remembered good things, so off to Urban Lounge I went. I arrived a little late (shows that start on time?! genius!), but when I got through the doors, an ethereal, crisp vibe filled the room. It was like Tears For Fears somehow made it to 2010 and turned into one person—in the best way possible. Active Child's music was spooky, but gorgeous. Every girl's heart was melting when he played "Wilderness," singing, "It's so cold but you don't even notice...", the most haunting voice coming from this little body.
There's a definite 80's goth vibe in his songs, brought out by the heavy drum samples and synth, but brilliant and delicate, sounding like hymns for everyone that came alone. Pretty, but tragic. And as if that isn't enough, he also plays the harp, fitting in perfectly with his fragile sound. Swoon.
In between sets, I found the nearest table to drink and stare blankly through the pseudo-intellectual hipster boys and drunk girls and too much groping, until School of Seven Bells started their set off with "Half Asleep," a shogaze soundscape of guitars, dreamy vocals, and minimalistic drums. They are a three piece composed of twin sisters, Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, who both sing and play keyboards, respectively, Benjamin Curtis on guitar as well, and a drummer that's touring with them.
"Bye Bye Bye" sounded awesome live, a little different from the album version, but equally as tight. There were a few other songs that differed slightly from the album version, but were equally as beautiful. The girls of School of Seven Bells have such dreamy voices, skirting along the lines of almost too pretty on their CDs, but they were fantastic live. They harmonize effortlessly, sounding angelic in front of harsher synthesizer sounds and gentle guitars.
I expected much more dancing from the start of School of Seven Bells' set, but everyone's drinks must have set in by song three or four, as almost everyone was loosening up, ready to hit the dance floor, looking like they wanted to dance a little bit more than they were, but waiting for someone else to start. The two drunkest show-goers were undoubtedly having a great time, singing along to all the songs and jumping around the side of the stage and were later recognized by Curtis, saying, "We'd like to thank the two drunkest guys in here," as they got back on stage for their well-received encore.
Active Child and School of Seven Bells were perfect tour buddies, as their sounds were similar, but different enough for the crowd not be totally bored by the end of the show. Both of the bands have a few albums out, and hopefully many more tours and songs in the works.