Saturday, July 7, 2007

the polyphonic spree, warsaw, 7/1/07

there is nothing like the polyphonic spree to restore one's faith in...well, whatever one doesn't have faith in. ok, so the spree didn't restore my faith in america, but that's a tall order anyway. they did, however, make me astonishingly happy for near two and a half hours. yes, that was all concert time. and that's not counting the opener, jesca hoop. i made the "mistake" of arriving at 9.45 for a 9 show, not realizing that warsaw actually starts its shows when the ticket says, but i still caught three hoop songs, which were really good. some mp3s have been making the rounds lately, especially "intelligentactile101," which i heard, and "seed of wonder." "intelligentactile101" is on the upcoming kismet, hoop's first album, due to be released later this year. without even listening to her music, this quote will assure you that it's worth your while:

"jesca hoop's music is like a four sided coin. she is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. her music is like going swimming in a lake at night." - tom waits.

indeed, though i wasn't expecting much from a no name opener for one of indiedom's most well-known bands, jesca hoop pleasantly surprised and engaged me. i've reposted "intelligentactile101" below. you should definitely check her out, and wait with bated breath for kismet.

i sorta cheated in preparation for the 'spree, because i listened to part of the npr taping of their show the night before in washington and checked out the tracklist, but that didn't even begin to prepare me for the two solid hours of joy that tim delaughter and co. brought to brooklyn that night. it seemed a wonder in and of itself that 24 people could fit onto such a small stage, but fit they did, with room to rock.

they opened with "running away" and "get up and go!," the first two songs off their new album the fragile army, and then took a trip back in time to the beginning stages of... for "it's the sun," bringing the crowd to a level of excitement that didn't flag for the rest of the show. tim was the obvious focal point for the whole show, and was the only spree member to speak to the audience, but that was to be expected. clad in their new black uniforms, the spree did seem more vulnerable, as the title of their new album suggests.

mixing the old with the new, the polyphonic spree lightened hearts and minds with their rousing 50 minute set...i know a smile didn't leave my face for one minute the whole time. unfortunately, time blunts the details, so i can't remember which song they ended with, but it was long and slow, and the whole band filed out, bit by bit, until only tim was left onstage, serenading the crowd that sang along with him.

after tim had left the stage, the crowd kept singing the last lyrics of the song over and over, waiting, begging for an encore. there was no movement on stage, but the crowd didn't give up hope. and, indeed, the spree entered from the back of the auditorium, resplendent in their old white robes. the crowd went apeshit, cheering, smiling, giving everyone high-fives and handshakes. the band finally made it back to the stage, and played for another hour and a half. i swear to god, it was amazing. tim kept saying that he didn't want to stop playing yet, and no one argued with him. they played "lithium," "sonic bloom," "la la," "hanging around the day (pt. 2)," everything that you could possibly hope for.
"everything starts at the seams" into "when the fool becomes the king," when tim made the whole band stand still for least 10 minutes as he chatted up the crowd and teased the other 23 people on stage as much as he wanted. the night ended with a birthday celebration for mark pirro, originally a member of tripping daisy. we were told a story about a ship on the great lakes, whose name i can't remember now, for some reason, but the last song was tripping daisy's "ride captain ride," which the whole crowd sang along to, despite the fact that i'm sure only four or five people knew the words (it's an easy chorus). prompted by tim's exhortations that the polyphonic spree needs all the money we could spend on them, the crowd mobbed the merch table, and everyone else left in a glow of good cheer and happiness. a perfect night.

jesca hoop - "intelligentactile 101" look for kismet later this year.
the polyphonic spree - "get up and go" buy the fragile army here.

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