Last Night: Active Child, Com Truise at The Prophet Bar

Active Child, Com Truise
The Prophet Bar
September 1, 2011

Better than: doing then homework at the local coffee shop

There's a stark difference between electronic music that is made for partying and electronic music that is made for listening. Last night at The Prophet Bar that difference was evident from wall to wall, from floor to ceiling and from amplifier to eardrum.

Both headliner Active Child, the creative project of Denver-based producer Pat Grossi, and opening act Com Truise, one of the many personas of New York producer Seth Haley, are riding the coattails of recent album releases.

Active Child graced the stage on this, the second night of their tour together, a little bit after 11 p.m.. And while Grossi's recently issued debut release You Are All I See features all original production, he brought along a drummer on the electric kit and a bass player who doubled on the keyboard to join him. Grossi himself sat center stage on the harp and sometimes rocked out on the electronic effects pad.

He gets mad props for originality. The only band even comparable to their style would be CocoRosie, which varies vastly in terms of overall sound. Grossi, who was formerly in a choir, clearly, shook the beams of the bar with his resounding vocals that mimicked opera style -- something like a falsetto version of Enya -- as he gently glided his fingers over his strings.

His stature seemed appropriate for the occasion, dressed in a short-sleeved, blue button-down with a golden broach at the top. His sound was classical and, in some ways, antiquated. And yet it was genuine all the same. The music was as honest as could be as Grossi poured out elegant lyrics describing heartache and failed relationships. 

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Silence swept through the audience after every song, and if a listener even tried to make commentary, they were met with verbal hushes from those around them. Needless to say, it felt like being at an art gallery more than a show.

The real treat of the night, however, was Com Truise, who both played before Active Child and brought the biggest crowd. The Prophet Bar must have been at least four times fuller during the hour or so before Active Child than at the end of the show. From Com Truise's set on out, the number of engaged listeners slowly depleted.

Haley of Com Truise is bridging a gap between chillwave and pure electronic music. While his set was full of beeps, wobbles and powerful twerks, the music seemed more artsy than it did ragetastic, attracting a crowd of head-bobbers as opposed to ground-stompers.

Haley played all the music live and even had a live drummer, who at points would rubs his sticks against his cymbals to make the musical effect of a singing bowl. Admittedly, Com Truise is not the type of music you could listen to daily; sometimes it is chaotic and slightly unlistenable. But it put the crowd into drug-induced trance where everyone swayed with their eyes closed. At first glance, it appeared as though many were not even listening. But as soon as the end to a song approached, Com Truise was met with an incredible amount of applause.

"How awesome was that?"one concert-goer rhetorically on his way out the door. "So awesome!"

Enthusiasm about the show as a whole was definitely palpable, the vibe spot on although maybe muted at some points. 

Active Child and Com Truise collectively were like any good art exhibit: subtly awesome, intensely intriguing, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
This would have been a great show to have showed up to after smoking a few funky cigarettes.

By The Way: The Prophet Bar was almost too loud. Know to BYOE (bring your own earplugs), dudes.

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