Active Child: Hi-Dive in Denver
To call Active Child mesmerizing is a complete understatement. Former choir boy Pat Grossi’s soaring vocals, atmospheric textures, and blissful harp playing is at once compelling, original, and captivating. Their debut full length, “You Are All I See,” is a consistent follow-up to the insanely good “Curtis Lane” EP–the band sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. My excitement was overwhelming to see them perform in such an intimate venue as the Hi Dive on that wonderful Monday night.
Admittedly, the Hi Dive has a less-than-impressive sound system, and tonight was unfortunately no exception. Though some pals at the show disagreed, I thought the synth mix was considerably low, especially when it’s such a huge part of their sound. In fact, at one point, you could barely hear the synth at all and the harp was a little overpowering. The drums were also pushed way too high into the mix and were too much. None of this was the band’s fault, of course, but it affected the overall performance quite a bit.
Regardless, what the band lacked in good sound backing, they made up for tenfold with Grossi’s stunning vocals. His voice was consistently accurate, in-tune, and soared beautifully–even in the higher octaves, Grossi held notes with little problem. His harp playing was phenomenal, as he improvised frequently and expressed a comfortable, casual impression. His band wasn’t shabby either, accurately bringing forth the many layers found in their music.
The band played mostly songs from their recently released full-length, but thankfully played the two best tracks from Curtis Lane (“I’m In Your Church at Night” and “Wilderness”). The highlight of their set was certainly the encore of “I’m In Your Church…”–it was breathtaking and epic.
I was expecting the set to be a little more ethereal, intimate, and passionate–but overall, for a band who have a sound that’s truly their own, just seeing Grossi sing live was an experience I won’t outlive for awhile. I strongly recommend everyone listen to this band immediately.— Andrew Martin, 09/19/2011