Saturday night started like any other concert night. I drove into the downtown core of Vancouver, ready to experience some inspiring music. As I neared the corner of Granville and Smythe I noticed a prime parking spot had just opened up, things were off to a really goo start.
As I walked past the bustling masses working their way down the Granville strip, I wondered what to expect of The Polyphonic Spree. The anticipation was killing me.
The security for Venue, lifted the velvet rope and let me through. I acquired my ticket and went inside, ready to to experience.
The sound of experimental trippy notes lingered through the air, and enveloped my ears. As I approached the stage I saw the single member of New Fumes, with a goat-like papier mache headpiece upon his head. Despite the strangeness of his appearance, I found his music to be intriguing and intimate. As he completed his set I found myself at the merchandise stand. The vendor and I had a little conversation, where he offered up that the man in New Fumes was the one who poured all the psychedelic vinyl for The Flaming Lips and Wayne Coyne. Seemed like a really interesting tidbit.
After a short interlude, the stage was covered by a 7 foot high band of red fabric. This was then backlit by a couple intense red lights. The onlookers watched as various shadows scurried back and forth on stage, prepping the area and arranging instruments.
All the lights in the venue dimmed, except one. The sole point of illumination from behind the crimson cloth. The band started into a little opening jam, of psychedelic whimsy. The lead singer, Tim DeLaughter, pressed his face into the fabric and mouthed the words of the song. He then plunged scissors through the curtain and cut away at it. He eventually carved out the hole into the shape of a heart, and he poked his head out. The crowd was elated. He frantically cut away at the red banner until it was no more and it fell to the floor. There before us stood The Polyphonic Spree, in all of their glory.
The group was dressed in long white robes, with a single red heart adorned on their chests. The stage was a smattering of artists contributing to each song. Some trumpeters here and some choir singers there. The lead singer had a commanding charisma over the crowd. He often perched his body on the edge of the stage and stretched out in an effort to truly reach each person.
The energy level was amazing. Every song was full of excitement, and carried a certain chutzpah. I looked around the room and saw that the majority of the concert goers in attendance were singing along with the entire performance. Being that I am just a casual fan, I was touched by this. Usually you see a few fans mouthing the words to every song, but on this night, the majority were keeping time and adding their vocals to every piece.
By the end of the night I was sold. These guys and gals had something special to offer. I have listened to the albums and heard all the hype, and they definitely deliver. Their presence alone is worth the ticket price, let alone the interconnectivity between the band and the crowd. I just want to say kudos to the band, you truly made this a special night for all.
Photos © Jamie Taylor