As one of the must-see acts at Laneway Festival this year, the ‘Sold Out’ sign at the entrance of the East Brunswick Club reveals that many Melbournians want another piece of USA’s Active Child...
To start the night, Sydney’s newest darling of the electronic music scene, Oliver Tank, warms up the crowd with his interesting beats. It is a short set, but a telling demonstration of why he is receiving attention in Australia’s music world.
Next up is Sydney’s Caitlin Park. Sporting a pair of black rimmed glasses, her husky voice is reminiscent of Beth Orton and AniDi Franco. The other band members complement her vocals, with Eliza Fawcett on drums, and Holly Austin treating the crowd to beat boxing and other interesting sounds made entirely on her own.
"This is our version of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," Park says, getting a murmur of giggles from the crowd, and they launch into a humorous cover of the song.
Now that the two supports have finished, the anticipation builds in the room.
An artist who sounds better live than they do recorded is a rare occurrence, but something which Active Child seems to achieve effortlessly. News has spread like wildfire of Pat Grossi’s background, as most are more than impressed by his beautiful choirboy voice and bewildering, sometimes freakish vocal range. Journalists in local press have quizzed him about his musical past, which traces back to him singing with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Corale. It’s this unique, spine-tingling voice, teamed with the angelic sounds of his harp, which make it evident why he is playing to a full house tonight.
Playing songs from his debut album, You Are All I See, the favourite of the night is "Hanging On", which the crowd listens to intently. Some punters close their eyes and let the haunting, dreamy sounds take them to another place, while others pull out their cameras and begin snapping away. His voice reaches glass-shattering highs and booming lows.
He is joined on stage tonight with Stratton Easter, who moves seamlessly from his guitar to bass and piano, as well as harmonising with Grossi, and drummer Brennan Rhodes on both live and electronic drums.
He plays pitch perfect versions of "Diamond Heart", "Way Too Fast", and "See Thru Eyes", and moves away from his harp when the set becomes more upbeat.
Can an artist perform and rely solely on their amazing, flawless sound? Punters have higher expectations than ever to experience an all-encompassing show. Visually, the show is not very interesting, and it’s something a musician like Active Child needs to consider. His talent is undoubtable, but the crowd seems to become restless at times, wanting to see something more engaging.
Grossi chats in a relaxed manner with the audience between songs, and after he is cheered on for an encore, he promises he will be back for another show soon.