School of Seven Bells and Active Child September 19, 2010 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Do the Twin Cities have an active enough concertgoing population to support three separate sizable touring bands on a chilly Sunday night? It turns out the answer is yes, judging from the full-but-not-sold-out crowds that swarmed the Mainroom for Dirty Projectors and the Entry for School of Seven Bells last night, not to mention those who filled Roy Wilkins in St. Paul for the Flaming Lips.
Though the Entry was the smallest show of the three big options last night, it still managed to draw a contingent of dream-pop fans to its cozy quarters. Openers Active Child were the surprise of the evening, and frontman Pat Grossi held the growing audience rapt with his strong, supple falsetto and ambient dance beats. Before the set, folks in the crowd were buzzing about the harp that was placed center stage for Active Child's set, and it was a jarring and beautiful addition to the duo's massive sound -- too bad they only used it during the first two songs.
As their performance reached its peak, the highlight was absolutely "Wilderness," the band's most recognizable single, and Grossi performed a slow and sparse rendition of the song that drew even more attention to his powerful voice. Grossi specializes in hovering right around the point where his voice switches from guttural belting to high-register falsetto, a range most singers tend to avoid but which he toys with masterfully.