By Devin Duckworth | May 31st, 2012
Last night, electronic maven Pat Grossi, aka Active Child, played at San Francisco’s cozy music hall, The Independent. This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him live, the first being when he opened for M83 back in November. Since the first time I saw him perform, I’ve had the chance to get acquainted with You Are All I See and gain an appreciation of the music that he masters so eloquently. Trained by singing in choirs through his youth, Grossi’s power in his falsettos is rarely matched by anyone in our landscape.
As I made my way toward the front and set up shop right in front of the huge wooden harp, I noticed that two porcelain Grecian statues were being set up right in center stage in front of where the drummer would eventually convene. Once the lights began to dim and Pat and his gang took the stage, the smoke machines commenced and it was time to start the show.
Opening with a beautiful harp solo, Grossi’s high-pitched vibrato captured the room as he began to sing “You Are All I See” the opening track to his eponymous album. The scarce percussions and aqueous harp plucking sent everyone in the sold-out show into an ethereal trance while the bands mighty melodies brought beams to their faces and twinkles to their eyes.
Next on the setlist was “High Priestess”; a more widely recognized number full of elevated vocal fluctuations and steady percussions. The arcane nature of this song went into full effect when their electronic aesthetic kicked in with sparkling beats cascading throughout the venue.
After “Shield and Sword” Grossi decided it was time to change up the pace a little bit, so he ditched the harp and switched to the keyboard and laptop, giving the audience a more visually stimulating show of his emotions while he sang his electronic-laden R&B track, “Playing House.”
“Way Too Fast” created a mellowed environment with atmospheric melodies and galactic beat surges. The sorrowful swarming sounds that he fluently exhibited with just his vocal falsetto was so moving, all I could do was stand and stare.
Returning to the harp after previous desertion, the start of “Johnny Belinda” brought the audience to the realization that the show was almost over and now was the time to succumb to his enchanting instrumentals and soaring celestial vocals.
After about a three-minute break, Grossi and friends graciously took the stage and closed the show with a two-song encore. Straddling the harp, AC began to lure the receptive crowd in once again with “Diamond Heart,” a synth-pop number that gives a slight nod to the 80s, before ending the night with the instrumental number “Ivy.”
Even though he performed at Sasquatch Music Festival only two days prior, he brought substantial power on stage with him. There’s definitely something to be said about a big strong redheaded man playing the harp with the voice of an angel. While Active Child is not always the easiest band to grasp, their live set highlights the band’s talents well beyond the recording. If you are on the fence about Active Child, go to a show and see the spectacle for yourself.
You Are All I See
Shield & Sword
When Your Love Is Safe
See Thru Eyes
Way Too Fast