Concert Review: Active Child At The Echoplex

by STEPHANIE WARD · March 4, 2010

I thought I’d be hip and go to Echo Park this weekend where Active Child played their Los Angeles debut at the Echoplex. As I trotted towards the already well-established line, some dudes wearing thick glasses rolled by in their Prius and shouted “Echo…echo echo” at me. I’m fairly sure they were just doing their duty as members of Echo Park and reminding me where I was (always appreciated), but I’m not positive.-

To be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, and now I’m not sure I want to tell anyone about them, they were so magical. I was preparing myself for some alienating tunes. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised, impressed, and generally excited for the future of this band.

Pictured at left is Pat Grossi, the creator of Active Child, who plays harp and keyboard, writes the music, and is the voice of the band. Stratton Easter plays guitar, and newest member, Seth Olansky, plays drums. The base of their music is always grounded by a steady pulse from percussion, as Pat’s tenor voice soars and layers above and around it. He keeps the lyrics simple, allowing for complex layering of voice and harp. The raw tremor in his voice seems like it’s weaving through this sort-of, oceanic haze. Just as I start to feel like I’m wading in water, Pat’s haunting voice breaks the calm.

She Was a Vision was a favorite of the night, during which Pat’s haunting voice captures the pains of distance. Somehow he manages to sound hollow and heartbroken by merely repeating the same two words over and over—how does he do that? They make me feel this impending sense of doom and tragedy, while all the while believing it’s worth it. So, listening to them is like an abusive relationship I guess, but in a good way. Listen to them HERE:

They draw a very fun, artsy crowd, dominated by the good-looking-fancy-pirate type. Their next show is at El Rey with The Big Pink and then the South by Southwest music festival in Austin! They’re reminiscent of the Swell Season, Grizzly Bear, and Thom Yorke. I couldn’t recommend them more highly.

Plus, they’re a fantastic group of fellows. Afterwards, they agreed to grab tacos with us at the Taco Zone food truck, an Echo Park late night food staple. Don’t worry, “tongue tacos” are an option on the menu. Go for the veggie tacos.