|Venue:||Manchester, The Soup Kitchen|
Before now Active Child has never played a headline show in Manchester. Surprising, considering how consistently fantastic Pat Grossi’s musical output has been and how lively Manchester’s live music scene is. So with this rare opportunity for Manchester’s gig going population to see Grossi in the flesh, you’d perhaps expect a full house, but tonight, the basement floor of The Soup Kitchen seems remarkably roomy. As I stand there beer in hand with a plentiful helping of personal space, I can’t help but feel sorry for the amount of people who have managed to miss out on this one, because Active Child’s performance tonight makes for one of the most impressive shows Manchester has seen all year.
Centre stage sits a beautiful wooden harp, elegant in comparison to the cold, plastic MIDI keyboards and electronic drum kit that surround it. It’s this magnificent centerpiece that seems to make Active Child’s set extra special. Dreamily plucked, it is the tender soul of the performance, breathing life into each song. Each time Grossi’s fingers glide across it, the sweet sound seems to resonate gloriously across the silent room, producing the kind of ultra-real atmosphere you just can’t get from listening to a record. The material off last year’s album, You are all I seeis recreated perfectly and picks up an almost super-natural quality, as the sounds mingle with the moody lighting and artificial fog, as if the music itself is emitting an unearthly glow. After experiencing this, it seems clear why the tag ‘dream pop’ has been so frequently attached to Active Child’s music.
As well as performing songs from You are all I see Grossi also dips into his debut EP for tonight’s show, with I’m in your church at night being a definite highlight from the set. Here, the warm synths and dripping harp strings encompass the room in a wholesome way that many of Active Child’s contemporaries could only dream of replicating.
But as if the harp wasn’t enough on its own to make this performance special, Grossi’s vocals seem to lift the music from the clouds and up, way into the heavens. His falsetto voice floats so naturally, never piercing or feeling forced, it’s unbelievable how effortlessly Grossi manages to create such a soothing natural accompaniment to his soft synths and reverb drenched drums. Evidently Grossi’s time spent as a choir boy has served him well, and it’s the audience here tonight who are the lucky one’s reaping the benefits from his years of training. And as the set draws to an end, the ratio of appreciative whoops and claps to crowd size seems to suggest that not a single person in the room was left disappointed. A stunning performance.
Posted: Mon 9 July 2012