The Polyphonic Spree
|08-Jul-2007 09:55 pm||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
After the drug overdose of guitarist Wes Berggren brought Tripping Daisy to an end, Tim DeLaughter (vocals, guitar) and the other remaining band members decided to explore the idea of creating a symphonic rock band, an idea that resulted in The Polyphonic Spree. Now on their third full-length album entitled The Fragile Army, they are touring North America, an impressive feat of logistics given that I counted 23 people on stage last Thursday night. On previous tours they donned white robes for their performances, but this time around they were wearing pseudo-army outfits that featured white hearts on the jackets.
While the crew was setting up, a large red piece of material was stretched across the front of the stage, blocking our view of what was happening. When the lights dimmed, a version of Give Me Some Truth orginally by Travis was played while the lyrics were projected in large onto the strip of red material. DeLaughter eventually revealed himself and the entire onstage community by cutting through the strip of material until it separated. As mentioned, there were 23 people on stage, which included a 7 member choir, a string section, a full-sized harp, a brass section, a flutist, a drummer, and a pair of keyboards.
DeLaughter spoke between songs, and in one case told us a story about how he attempted to prevent the song Younger Yesterday from being included on the new album, but was ultimately convinced by his wife that it was worthy. And now he believes it's a great song and including it was definitely the right thing to do. I believe the story was meant to illustrate the power of your friends, but for me the story fell a bit flat because even though there was some musically cool moments in the song, the lyrics kind of turned me off.
The Polyphonic Spree's songs are built around extremely happy and uplifting lyrics, sometimes laying it on a bit thick, but when you mix those songs with the stage presence of DeLaughter and the 22 other people, you end up with a show that is incredibly difficult not to enjoy. In fact, whether it is intentional or not, there is some similarity between the way Tim DeLaughter orchestrates a Polyphonic Spree show and the way Wayne Coyne runs a Flaming Lips concert. In both cases there's a bit of a 60's feel to their performance, with lots of smiles. For The Polyphonic Spree, even when performing the title track off their new album, which DeLaughter referred to as their "ode to Bush", one can't help but feel like a part of some kind of positive movement. Even though I'm interested enough in this band to have purchased all three of their CDs, I'm still indifferent to many of their studio recordings. But put it on stage, and it works. Wonderfully.
Info: The Polyphonic Spree | Connect: MySpace
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