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Live Review: The Polyphonic Spree @ The Astoria

By on Tuesday, 4th September 2007 at 2:22 am

The Polyphonic Spree in their Fragile Army UniformsSometimes a band comes across as a bit of a gimmick, a good one-trick pony. At first I thought The Polyphonic Spree were just this, a (large) collective with three albums of the same summery tunes. However, after being coaxed into going to see them, I quickly changed my mind – they’re a force to be reckoned with, ensuring that whoever is around them can’t help but feel the summer is here.

Opening up the show, a town crier and his son introduced the band with a bit of pantomime-audience participation, before a red banner was draped across the stage whilst the entire band assembled in their places allowing “musical director” Tim DeLaughter cut a heart shaped window into the fabric. The band revealed, things got off to a flying start. The band have ditched their traditional choral robes for this tour, instead opting for army-style jackets, all with the “Fragile Army” logos on – the Spree have got Political.

Flowing into one continuous piece of music, the 22 member band managed to remain as tight as anything, with DeLaughter directing all the action throughout. Epic wasn’t the word, as they plunged through a setlist that would keep everyone happy: from the diehard b-sides fan through to those of us who only knew the classics. “Soldier Girl” was thrown into the set quite early, providing a chance for DeLaughter to come down to the front, and get generally mauled by the crowd. “Hold Me Now” saw mass hug-sessions from groups of friends, loving couples, and the just plain drunk.

The Polyphonic Spree - back in their robes and going for itAll too soon, it was announced that it was time for them to go, slowly leaving the stage one by one until only the harpist is left remaining, and crowd are left chanting for more. Soon enough, the band emerge. In the balcony. In their traditional robes. Congo-ing along the balcony rows, they make their way down to the stalls and through the crowd, making it up to the stage one by one, security counting them in and the band launching into one hell of a jam. Soon, Tim emerges, crowd surfing his way to the front to launch into a cover of Nirvana’s Lithium. To some of you, this will appear to be sacrilege, however it was absolutely amazing – the lyrics shining through and the self-loathing of the song becomes ironic with the whole band in tow.

Soon enough the end is upon us, DeLaughter seeming genuinely touched by the crowds reception, wishing a light-hearted farewell: “I hope y’all can still remember how to ride your bikes – you’re gonna need ‘em with this bitch of a tube strike!”, and with the final flourish of an old Tripping Daisy (DeLaughter’s old band) song “Sonic Bloom” they were gone, in a flourish of colour. Whilst we were coming down from the amazing high, we had to admit: they’re no one trick pony: they’re a force to be reckoned with. Make sure you catch them next time they’re in the capital.

Continue reading Live Review: The Polyphonic Spree @ The Astoria


Bands to keep a watch out for in the future: #11: Kissaway Trail

By on Saturday, 4th August 2007 at 8:34 pm

Kissaway TrailA few weeks ago a friend mentioned to me that “you just have to check out the Kissaway Trail“. Having already endured half a dozen crappy myspace one hit wonders from this person I did my usual nod-and-smile, and forget about it. However, when I started reading a few blogs raving about them I thought that I’d give them five minutes. How glad I was that I had.

Sounding like Arcade Fire with a hint of Polyphonic Spree, this Danish five piece have the makings of joining the “big boys league” of innovative, epic, “take me to another place” rock that has had a fine, fine year with great albums from Muse, Arcade Fire and Polyphonic Spree.

Down to earth, the guys are very softly spoken for the music they make. Their debut single (which is in the video below) “Smother+Evil=Hurt” is reminiscent of the Polyphonic Spree at their accessible, storytelling best. They’re unafraid of mixing emotions – from the triumphant “la la las” of “Forever Turned Out To Be Too Long” through to the darkness of Sometimes I’m Always In Black – “When winter comes, don’t wash away my tears”.

Personally I feel that the album starts off at its best and then declines a bit as it goes on, however that is purely because it isn’t as accessible, immediate pop-songs of the initial two. However, the album is best heard when you can devote your entire attention to it in one go, when you continue to find more and more layers to it each and every time.

Dreamy at times and fully alert and pounding at others, The Kissaway Trail offer the mixed bag that is sure to garner much attention, and could become one of the slow burners of the year.

After the jump find their UK tour dates and the video for “Smother+Evil=Hurt”.

Photo is taken from eakena’s flickr stream.
Continue reading Bands to keep a watch out for in the future: #11: Kissaway Trail


Polyphonic Spree / London / September

By on Friday, 20th July 2007 at 11:19 pm

Tim DeLaughter of Polyphonic SpreeEveryone’s favourite crazy “cult” band, The Polyphonic Spree, have announced a one off London show.

They’ll be bringing their robes and feel-good summery tunes to the Astoria on Monday 3rd September.

Photo comes from Ian Mutoo’s flickr stream.


Connect Festival announces more bands for its lineup

By on Wednesday, 18th April 2007 at 5:58 pm

I’d never heard of Connect festival before yesterday, when I saw that their lineup had been announced. Wow. Whilst they don’t have bands who have the mass appeal of the likes of Arctic Monkeys (booo! Hisss!) or Snow Patrol, they do have some truley innovative, exciting and interesting bands that make you have faith in the music industry for once.

On the Friday they have:
Beastie Boys
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Go! Team
CSS (Boooo! Hiss!!)
Nouvelle Vague
King Creosote
James Yorkston
Alex Smoke
Trashcan Sinatras

On the Saturday they have:
Primal Scream
Teenage Fanclub
The Divine Comedy
Modest Mouse
Sons & Daughters
Rilo Kiley
Vashti Bunyan
The Black Dog
The Only Ones
The New Pornographers

On the Sunday they have:
LCD Soundsystem

Big Star
The Polyphonic Spree
My Latest Novel
Tilly & The Wall
Patrick Wolf

(my favourites in italics, in case you didn’t know!)


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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