Archive: October 4th, 2009

It changes shape with you, it changes shape with you

[Concerts] (10.04.09, 10:03 pm)

School of Seven Bells were playing at a nearby venue “The Drunken Unicorn” last Tuesday. Naturally, we got tickets. The Drunken Unicorn is a tiny but cozy little space nestled away by a few bars and restaurants. The audience appeared to be a hip, young student variety. We got there around 9 in the evening, and the show lasted until about 1 in the morning. The opening act was Tea Lights, a fascinating and complex group native to Atlanta, which used an impressive diversity of instruments. Most pleasing was their use of a cello alongside drums, electric guitars, and electronic samples. I’ve recently been thinking that cellos are entirely underutilized as band instruments, and Tea Lights showed just how effective one can be.

After Tea Lights, another indie-electronic group, Phantogram, began their setup. This setup involved assembling a stand full of equipment, including a keyboard, a mixer, a strobe light, some sort of voice processor, and a number of other devices I couldn’t recognize. Phantogram consisted of two performers, Josh Carter, who manned an electric guitar, and Sarah Barthel, who controlled the hub of electronics. Both sang, and used the voice system to create intense, ethereal, reverberating effects. The music itself was layered and distorted, but pulsing enough to be quite danceable.

When Phantogram finished, School of Seven Bells began setting up, and started their set. They sound very differently live than in their album. The sound is coarser, the vocals were covered but not drowned by the ambient guitar noise. The upside of this is that the songs are more energetic and danceable. Particularly satisfying was “iamundernodisguise,” which is introspective and even reserved on the album, but was played with vibrant force and pulsing energy. The band played several new tracks as well, which suggests that there might be a new album in the works, so we have something to look forward to.