Gig Reviews

Photos: School of Seven Bells – The Gaelic Club – Thursday 23rd April 2009

To be honest for a moment, I really have no idea who School Of Seven Bells are, I was dragged to this gig against my will, but sweet lubed-up Jesus am I glad I came.

Arriving at 8:30pm to see Sherlock’s Daughter, the reason we had come, my friends and I were confronted with a $40 cover charge. After a few hushed conversations with a tour manager who my friend’s girlfriend’s sister had slept with, we were in for free, at this point only intending to stick around to see Sherlock’s Daughter.

As usual Sherlock’s Daughter delivered a performance so good you could dress it in drag and have your way with it. The enchanting presence that is lead singer and multi instrumentalist Tanya Horo had the audience under her sensual spell as soon as the first lyrics came flowing forth from her golden vocal chords. It’s difficult to describe their sound without falling back on the crutch of ‘ambient pop’ but if you could imagine the sort of music you’d hear in an Icelandic day care center for music prodigies, you’re halfway there.

What really sets this band apart is the way each member uses minimalism to construct something greater than the sum of its parts. Drummer Will Russell delivers quirky drum lines that occasionally end in controlled explosions of virtuosity while guitarist Graeme, keyboard and synth wizard Jonti Animal and bassist Liam Flanagan make brilliant use of effects, wading through the shiny swamps of reverb and delay to unearth weighty sonic gems.

The next band was Firekites, and I was quite impressed. Their songs are a pleasant mixture of folk, pop and gypsy music, all covered in a healthy coat of post-rock as they distort and delay their acoustic guitars. However, despite having a bunch of good songs, their set was a little repetitive and we left to go outside for a ciggy.

Re-entering just as the sonic onslaught of School Of Seven Bells was about to begin, it only dawned on us then that we were in for something special as The Gaelic was packed to bursting, and getting a good spot was surprisingly difficult. With only two guitarists and a synth player onstage SOSB opened up their set dousing the tiny venue in their shoegazing glory.

They sound like the music you hear when you’re having a really weird dream. The conventional sound of Ben Curtis’s guitar is bent and distorted into something altogether wonderful and the vocals float over all the exquisite racket the way the sound of your clock radio going off does when your body just won’t wake up.

Twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Dehaza (vocals, synth, guitar, I’m not sure who plays what) work together like, well, twins. I can’t remember being this impressed by a band I knew nothing about in a long time. Find their music and get it.

Photos by Donny Semken

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