Concert Review - Active Child w/ Low Roar

By Kinsey Heath

If you haven’t been to the the Triple Door in Seattle, you’re missing out on Musicquarium treasure. I had the pleasure of seeing Low Roar open for Active Child, and both bands' style of music is best suited for a grandiose venue. The Triple Door is located in downtown Seattle and works as a lounge and a a sit-down venue to thoroughly enjoy a nice meal while listening to some of the best bands that come around. It also provides standing room in the back of the venue for people who were probably too late to get dining room tickets.

Low Roar, a band based out of Reykjavik, set the tone with their hauntingly ambient sound that sonically parallels rock elements to classical arrangements beautifully. This past April, I saw Low Roar open for Hozier at the Marquee Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. The Marquee is geared more towards rock shows and doesn’t feel as intimate or connective like the Triple Door. So with that being said, this venue was perfect for both Low Roar and Active Child to display their magnificent musicianship on a glorious stage.

Ryan Karazija, the lead man of Low Roar, feels like he’s got a lot on his chest. He shares it with the audience and leaves it on stage, letting the sound congeal and bubble over. Low Roar opens the set with synth-driven tunes that emulates bands like Radiohead and Sigur Ros. Their pieces are well composed and follow after one another seamlessly.  Karazia’s builds atmospheric sounds that easily transition into subtle, acoustic pieces that transpire organically on stage. Low Roar can easily become one of your new favorite bands due to their effortlessly, cohesive build-ups in the middle of their songs that take you to island of isolation, but then sweep you back into the shores, drowning you in desperation.

Active Child takes the stage, and you know the show this is going to make your concert experience that much better. Its been four years since Pat Grossi of Active Child released his last album, and with much anticipation, he has finally arrived with his full length album, Mercy. Grossi has perfectly mastered the integration of electronics and choral music and his voice is one of the purest and strongest voices you may ever hear live. He freely transitions from tenor to falsetto with powerful control that launches you into the stratosphere, allowing you to become a part of the music.

Incorporating a number of styles in his songs, Active Child is a band that is difficult to categorize under a specific genre. Some may call it “dream pop” while others may be unsure how to classify it. Some tracks are very R&B-driven, reminiscent of James Blake, and some tracks are more electronic and orchestrated.  In order to fully understand the musical dynamics of Mercy, its imperative to see Active Child live to fully experience the album. Grossi’s use of the harp creates a soundscape that is celestial, holy, and makes you feel like you are near sacred ground. No emotion is small while being in the presence of Active Child.

Seeing Active Child was like being baptized. Everything from the lighting at the Triple Door to the sonically palpable tunes that carry you into a heavenly dimension., I would say this was the top live performance of my year thus far. If you have chance to see Active Child live, without hesitation, do it. I promise that you will leave the venue feeling like you were apart of something greater than just existing in a venue with other people for a few hours.

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