Wednesday, July 21, 2010

School of Seven Bells at Scala London

If there is anything that proves that School of Seven Bell's brilliant and energetic debut Alpinisms was anything but a fluke, Disconnect from Desire further cements the Brooklyn trio as master craftspeople of modern shoegaze and dream pop genre. There isn't anything bad but songs like I L U, Windstorm and Bye Bye Bye due to their mesmerising and lucid melody. You could argue that Disconnect from Desire sounds even more mainstream than Alpinisms was and that isn't a bad thing as long as it sounds good. And it does.

While I would nominate Disconnect from Desire for the Mercury Prize (after burning their only-British rule), the same enthusiasm can't be said about their live performance. The setlist was solid if a bit safe, beginning with one of my Alpinisms favourite Half Asleep and going through songs like Windstorm, Dial, Bye Bye Bye, ILU and My Cabal. Unfortunately the band lacks one of the most important aspect in any great live performers - the interaction with the audience.

I've been to a couple of gigs this year and every band (including openers) were engaged with the audience. Tegan & Sara were always popular for their on-stage banters, Metric has this crazy performer you may have heard of also known as Emily Haines and Broken Social Scene... well nuff said there. While the gig in The Drop was memorable, if only because it was intimate, the one at Scala yesterday was utterly souless.

There was nothing technically wrong with their performance (though it does suffer from the usual stupid trend that is 'play it as loud possible till you can't hear the vocals' syndrome), but if I wanted to see Alejandra doing the same moves all the time, or Claudia not moving (at all) then I would rather just listen to the album on repeat at home.

Set list:

Half Asleep
Bye Bye Bye
Heart Is Strange
My Cabal

A couple more pictures on flickr


Dan said...

Pretty much spot on. Also I think they'd really benefit live from adding more musicians rather than having all the added synth / percussion / bass parts on backing track.

Jon said...

Glad you agreed. I love SVIIB so it was pretty upsetting to see such a poor live performance.

They really ought to bring in more musicians for their gigs.