This past May 3rd, Sala Rossa was darker than usual (or it certainly seemed that way) and the room was half-empty (or half-full, depending on your outlook). The show was slow to start - although once it did, the crowd inexplicably maintained a consistent 5 foot distance from the stage. Whether it was because they were curious to watch the projections on the white screen at the back of the stage, or because they were afraid of getting their eardrums blown out, I can't say for sure.
The opening act was Exitmusic. Hailing from Brooklyn, the duo's repertoire was moody and captivating. They opened with "The Sea" off of their 2011 release From Silence. They also performed "Passage" from the eponymous album, which surprisingly sounded better live than the recording. Otherwise, the show was a no-frills, all-black affair. There was minimal banter and interaction with the audience other than the usual interspersed thank-you's. The performance went smoothl but felt like it ended too soon.
School of Seven Bells supplemented their show with flashing LED lights as well as drums and keyboard accompaniment during their set. Alejandra Deheza sparkled and shimmered (or blinded if you were standing in the wrong spot) on stage, her neck and wrists dripping in gold and jewellery. Unfortunately due to the sound, the lyrics were barely audible for most of the show, which, as has been previously mentioned, is supposedly the most important part of the creative method for them. Or rather, it was described as the starting point for the band’s song-writing process. So much for that. The set list included "Bye Bye Bye," and "I L U" from Disconnect from Desire, "White Elephant Coat" from Alpinisms, as well as "The Night" from their 2011 album, Ghostory. The music managed to inspire some rhythmic swaying from the audience but not much else, which, to be fair, is generally what happens during shows at Sala anyway. But despite the sparse crowd there was still cheering for an encore. After a rather brief round of applause, the group swiftly returned, and played a few songs to which the response turned out to be livelier than those of the set itself. The band also seemed much more excited during those last few songs. Draw your own conclusions, but I think perhaps SVIIB might be eagerly anticipating the end of their tour in the coming months.
In parting, Benjamin Curtis confessed “I usually like to thank Exitmusic but I'm embarrassed ‘cause they’re right in front of us," a sentiment which I thought fit nicely within the breadth of the restrained and self-effacing (to the point of blandness) atmosphere of the evening.