the cult of the polyphonic spree...7/17 at the great american music hall...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 18, 2007 10:04pm | Post a Comment
 Last night Curt and I went to go see the Polyphonic Spree at the Great American Music Hall. Like I said before, I really do love the GAMH. But I had no idea what I was in for at a Polyphonic Spree show. This was my first time seeing them. And to be honest, I thought they would be maybe a bit over the top but a also maybe a bit annoying. The opening performer, Jessica Hoop, kept telling us that the show was going to be amazing. She basically said, "You are really in for an amazing experience if you have never seen them before." Whatever. I was not convinced. We did get to sit in the little VIP section up in the balcony  where the lights are controlled. I dropped off some CD'S for the band from Amoeba because  they had not received them yet from the label. So their manager gave us some VIP type seats. The manager was very nice but the most amazing thing about him was that he had a baby with him in a baby bjorn. So he was basically controlling the light show with the baby. I didn't get to ask him if it was his, but it sure was a cute little thing. But don't worry, the baby had big headphones on to block out the noise. I figured with 23 people in the band at least two of them were probably a couple and probably had a baby that they brought on tour with them. So basically, Jessica Hoop was correct. The show was amazing.

  The show started with lead singer and band leader Tim Delaughter cutting through a curtain that the entire band was hidden behind. I knew it would be a large band. But it really was amazing to see 23 people crammed on to the stage at the GAMH. I tried to memorize what everyone did in the band. Here is what I remember. Besides Singer Tim, there were 7 back  up singer ladies who were also a chorus and a synchronized hair dancing group. They had some great moves. 2 drummers, 2 keyboardists, 2 guitarists, 1 bassist, 2 violins , 1 cello, 1 harp, 2 trumpets, and 1 trombone player. It is sort of like a mix of a church revival and a bar mitzvah performance and a jam band. That does not really sound like it would work. But it does. The whole band seems to be having so much fun playing music that you can not help but to enjoy it as well. They often get unfairly compared to a cult. Any band with so many members that performs in robes is bound to get that comparison. And after seeing the show I was ready to sign up for the cult. Tim is a great ringleader and sort of seems to have some sort of power over the whole band and audience. I can almost understand how people like Jim Jones had that similar cult power. But these guys are just making good fun music. They are not waiting for armageddon or planning some mass suicide. So I really don't think they are a cult but if they are, I'm OK with it.

 The band was started by Tim and 2 other members of the 90's band Tripping Daisy. Not exactly the kind of band you would expect to come out of Dallas, Texas. They fit in better with the Seattle bands of the same period. Polyphonic Spree was created after the death of one of the members of Tripping Daisy. They went a very different direction with the Polyphonic Spree, but I am glad they did. I know many people have been obsessed with them for years. But it took me a while to come around. The new album, "The Fragile Army," came out a couple weeks ago on TVT. I liked it enough when I first heard it. But now after seeing it live, I have to say that I now sort of love it. Maybe I am now part of the cult. The show sort of reminded me of the Sufjan Stevens show. About the same amount of people on stage. Just a different sort of energy. I did like the new sort of hipster army medic outfits they were all wearing. Better than the robes. But of course they changed into the robes for the encore. They parted the crowd and walked back onto the stage from the back of the audience. And they did an amazing cover of Nirvana's "Lithium." I am really glad I got to see them live and finally let myself become a Polyphonic Spree fan. If you have the chance, go see these guys. It just might change your life.


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The Fragile Army (1), Great American Music Hall (5), The Polyphonic Spree (2)