Smile Politely

Sometimes live sounds are not as pretty as recorded ones

Hundreds of small uncontrollable elements go into a successful or unsuccessful live music experience — whiskey spills, belligerent fans, fantastic encores, sound issues, broken strings, etc. Unfortunately some of the most important of those elements clouded the outstanding potential of Saturday night’s show featuring School of Seven Bells and Common Loon.

Common Loon played at 7, and everything went well. They played some new material and some old favorites from their album The Long Dream of Birds. The amount of beautiful sounds that two people can make on stage always proves astounding when it comes from Robert and Matthew. I look forward to seeing where they will take us in the coming months.

When SVIIB took the stage, the sound sadly got the best of them. I had gotten perhaps a little too (overly) anxious to see them play live, and inevitably was let down.

Alejandra’s beautiful vocals were overshadowed by the volume of the drumming and guitars. She had her hands to her ears the whole show, undoubtedly due to feedback, but she tried to pull it off as a dramatic effect of the music. 

They played “My Cabel”, “ILU”, “Windstorm”, “Half Asleep”, “Babelonia” and “Sempiternal-Amaranth” among others, but it was difficult to decipher which song was which. Even with the technicalities, Alejandra and Benjamin were in good spirits about the show, exchanging childish, giddy smiles in between songs. 

All in all, the show was still a good time for those who knew the songs well, and although the drumming overshadowed the vocals, amazing drumming it was. The band did the best they could in the situation they were in, and I won’t give up hope that their next show could be monumental if all the right elements come together.

(Top two photos by Erin Gilman, cover and bottom photo by Chris Byrne)

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