We sauntered into the steadily-filling Exit/In shortly after 9:30 Friday evening to what was, more or less, utter silence. It was a relatively diverse crowd--from squares to hippies to nubile youngsters--that stood silently with mouths agape and arms folded as School of Seven Bells set up.
With Black Moth Super Rainbow's equipment draped in white sheets behind them and a modest intro of only "Hi," School of Seven Bells started in on a set of ambient, reverb-drenched tunes with a slightly industrial aesthetic. Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) noodled dreamily while flanked by raven-haired, identical-twin vocalists Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. One of the sisters added second guitar, while the other contributed key flourishes and (wo)manned programmed beats and bass lines. Though we never figured out who was whom.
The crowd bobbed and sipped their drinks as stock, Winamp-visualizer-looking psychedelic images flashed on a sheet behind S7B. Some of their tunes were intriguing, but The Spin typically reserves material that droney for extended peyote trips in the desert and attempts at seducing attractive, stray festival hippies. We spent a sizable portion of School of Seven Bells' set taking cigarette breaks, ordering drinks and contemplating just exactly how to describe their sound. We figured it out: more interesting and socially acceptable than a Pure Moods CD, but not by a lot.
The Exit/In was full but not uncomfortably congested when we headed back in for BMSR. They led in with a video of a YouTube user (possibly a ringer), who cited Black Moth as one of the five worst bands no one's ever heard of and derided their fans--a tribe he assumed to be clueless douchebags. This was followed by a brief video of Eric Wareheim (of Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) playing with a cat, ensuring us that we weren't douchebags and saying various things about being "goth."
It took Black Moth Super Rainbow a moment to resolve some ambiguous technical issues, and we quickly realized once they began that there was to be no spectacle in their performance. Much to the chagrin of our photographer, they played their entire set in complete darkness while vocalist and principal songwriter Tobacco sat Indian style--and partially obscured by a monitor--behind his keyboard. Despite synths being fairly low in the mix during the first song or two, Black Moth sounded phenomenal, and the strangely macabre footage of rotting fruit, glowing skulls and dead/dying people and animals was, at times, entertaining.
As well as Black Moth played, just over a dozen songs was about all we could take. We heard the bulk of their latest, Eating Us, and enough songs from Start a People that we felt justified leaving in time to catch the tail end of How I Became the Bomb's digital EP pre-release over at Mercy Lounge. Next time either Black Moth or School of Seven Bells comes through town, we'll definitely still consider going. But only if our ecstasy hook-up comes through.