Toronto – Leaving the Garrison after the show on Wednesday night, I was asked by Paul what I thought of the show. I said to him, “it was really good, two guys just singing over music” to which he replied “Yeah, but isn’t that everyone?”. While the statement I made applies to all music, there aren’t many that can sing like Hugo Manuel (of Chad Valley) and Pat Grossi (of Active Child).
Opening the night was Chad Valley, a solo project from Jonquil front man Hugo Manuel. Employing a simple synthesizer+ setup, Hugo hit the crowd at the Garrison with waves and waves of ambient notes and drum machines. All the tracks were of course, highlighted by the man’s voice. While I am never sure what the man is singing, he sings it well, hitting all the right notes and generally making me wish I can hit those notes or have that falsetto. Lost among the spacey trippy summer vibe that is his live take on his current EP Equatorial Ultravox, I blissfully nodded my head and moved to the tracks for the duration of the show. I even moved to stand up after securing a sitting spot, that’s big if you know how lazy I really am. Standout tracks include Fast Challenges and Now That I’m Real. Check him out if you get the chance.
While Chad Valley’s sound laid somewhere in the confines of a drug fueled summer pool party, Active Child’s sound lies firmly within the wreath of heartbreak. In town to promote their debut album You Are All I See, Active Child is the project of Pat Grossi, a man with some extensive choral/operatic voice training. Casually taking the stage with a harp, Pat Grossi was accompanied by a man on keyboards and another on an electric drum. From thereon in, Pat Grossi used his powerful voice as the brush to paint a picture of what might have been a pretty rough relationship. Laid out over simple but unique arrangements (including harps and pre-programmed sequences) Active Child mesmerized the crowd with their brand dark, introspective r&b meets electro music. A stark contrast from the earlier sounds of Chad Valley, but overall a good night of listening to people who can sing really really well.
Active Child – Hanging On