School of Seven Bells and Interpol at Radio City Music Hall

by Intern Julie

Who is opening for Interpol?”

I think I heard that 10 times while waiting for the School of Seven Bells / Interpol show @ Radio City Music Hall to begin on Thursday night. These days my statuesque gods in 3-piece suits tend to draw the Burning Man mob. (Remember Kellysreview?) So, of course I smelled skunk weed. And the dude who sat next to me played air drums during their entire set. But the real heartbreaker? Some of these people were unfamiliar with School of Seven Bells.

Who are they? Never heard of ‘em.”

Really? I feel sorry for these cave dwellers. Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza make music that is much more than shoegaze. It’s spiritualgaze, I swear. Yes, I just made that word up.

We all have our personal soundtracks, right? Well, SVIIB’s Alpinisms LP was mine in 2009 when I decided to move to N.Y.C from Chicago. And when the band opened with the song “My Cabal”—a huge, sparkling wall of sound that blisses out in rhythmic waves mixed with Deheza’s warm vocals—I was choking up.

As a thirty-something, most people thought I was smoking crack when I announced that I was moving to New York. No one was shy about telling me that I would fail, either. Didn’t I want to settle down? Have kids? Actually, no. Wasn’t I scared? Sure, but that wasn’t going to stop me. Where am I going with this? Listening to Alpinisms over and over deflected all of that negative crap and gave me hope. It’s true. Behold the magic of spiritualgaze! And now I happily live in N.Y.C. in a closet atop the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Dreams do come true! Seriously, though. Best decision I ever made, haters.

But back to the show! The trademark SVIIB sound kept coming with the starry-eyed love song “I L U” which I totally need to make out to, and then picked up with “Windstorm” which reveals Deheza’s incredible falsetto that, at times, trills so high it sounds more like a physical instrument than vocals. Incredible.

She may be petite, but Deheza’s stage presence is huge and her “totally in-the-moment” mannerisms mesh with Curtis’ so well that the entire experience—music, musicians, lights, instruments, atmosphere—is borderline transcendent. No, I didn’t pull out some sacred crystals and start chanting in my seat, but I seriously lost track of time. Before I knew it, SVIIB’s short set was finished.

Who is opening for Interpol?”

“School of what?”

I take it back. I don’t feel sorry for these people. Let’s just keep School of Seven Bells like a secret. Our secret. [Jen Hazen]

image courtesy of Vagrant Records


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