Wow. I don't even know how to start this.
I've never seen this band but I've known about them and have seen their Austin City Limits TV show a number of times, so I thought I had a bead on what their live show would be like........ and I was right; AND I didn't even have a clue!
If you're not familiar with this group they are the vision of the singer/songwriter/leader of this 24 person band (yes, 24 people onstage) named Tim DeLaughter, who formed The Polyphonic Spree a number of years ago with the remnants of his earlier group Tripping Daisy.
The thing they're known for live is creating a sort of maniacal/church revival/blissed out/spiritual HAPPENING, with all the musicians (14) & singers (9) wearing costumes & wildly dancing & thrashing around while DeLaughter prances, prowls and paces the stage singing the songs, which are all about love, peace, grace, coming together, understanding...... all very Beatlesque in lyrical style and often in musical style as well.
When I saw them on TV I always thought it looked interesting in a Flaming Lips sort of way but that the whole thing seemed a bit too contrived, but from the moment I walked into the sold out Great American I knew this was going to be much more than what I had expected.
I was immediately shocked by how good (and loud) it sounded. With multiple horns, guitars, drums, percussion, strings, keyboards, 10 people singing and God knows what else going on it was an extremely powerful WALL OF SOUND, yet the whole thing was amazingly layered & cohesive.
The second thing I noticed was how cool it LOOKED! The stage was PACKED with musicians & singers, with the excellent bass player on a tall riser in one back corner and a cello player in the other (they could have leaned on the balconey siding) with everyone else in between, giving the band a curved, layered look to go with all the physical movement from the band (dancing, twisting, thrashing, kneeling, jumping, etc.) They wern't wearing their usual floor-length white monk robes they're known for; they were all in black, military looking jump suits, and with the wild lights & strobes the visuals were as interesting and infectious as the sounds; the whole thing having sort of a Godspell vibe, but in a surprisingly GOOD way!
I don't think I can decribe what the music was like and do it justice; blissful, ecstatic, psychedelic pop that gets into your head and under you skin and brings the crowd to a frenzy.
The thing that surprised me the most was that there were no hippies or wookies or even stoners in the frenzied, blissful crowd. No one was smoking, and this is some of the most stoner-friendly music I've seen in a while. They weren't drinking much either; no lines at the bar! They were just REALLY into the band. I can't believe that hippies aren't more into this group, because it was a TRULY psychedelic show.
OK, I'm sitting here trying to decribe what this show was like and I simply can't; except to say that it WORKED, it blew my mind and it was one of the best shows I've seen this year. I'm now a Polyphonic Spree fan and I can't wait to see them again, and if you haven't seen them YOU SHOULD! They play in LA and San Diego at the end of this week and I say GO SEE THIS GROUP! If you like going to church you'll love 'em, and if you hate going to church........ you'll STILL love 'em!
glad you liked it
(((2 1 s t c e n t u r y u p w i t h p e o p l e)))
Sorry. Every time I see those guys and gals I hear Jim Jones urging everyone to drink the Kool Aid quickly.
Yeah, I'm in the same boat Bluetrain...
But if they get a good review on the zone, I'll check 'em out if I get the opportunity...sounds like it was something alright
Yep. That's exactly what I had thought and was expecting; I'd skipped them a couple of times in the past thinking they would be too much.... and not enough.
And it could well be that next time they'll anoy me, but last night was GREAT, and I'm not an easy mark for schtick and foolishness. Being in the room the vibe was immediately infectious, and I would say it was much more Magical Mystery Tour bliss than Jim Jones weird.
The Great American Music Hall does help, it's such a great place to see a show.
BTW, thanks for the benefit of the doubt Emily!
Wow, I had no idea the frontman was from Tripping Daisy.
I have to say, once I watched about 10 minutes of this group on t.v. and it really sucked.
And I mean that.
That's why I go to the shows.
Because you never know unless you GO.
And I mean that.
that's not a band.
It's a cult!
Great review. Thanks.
I like their music but the robes/costumes gimmick looks a little too cultish to me. I keep wondering if there's some sort of subliminal message in the music. I'm afraid I might end up chucking it all and joining the Children of God if I get too close to the band.
I dig them a lot.
Great review, thanks...
like their music but the robes/costumes gimmick looks a little too cultish to me. <<
I think they ditched the robes for a jumpsuit thingy. Last pic I saw, they all looked like they should be working in an airplane hangar.
probably every new record will also reveal new attire.....
music>superficial eye candy>success????
Here's their new garb
They actually changed into their white robes halfway through the set, after leaving the stage for 7 minutes while the crowd continued singing the song LOUDLY that the group left the stage playing, to pick back up the song and finish it after coming back into the venue from the street & through the crowd.
Very good stuff, the quality totally overshadowing the silliness.
So, PS has ditched the cultish robes and moved on to the Fidel Castro Youth Army look? The only thing missing is a red beret. Still very creepy.