The Polyphonic Spree – Village Underground

Why This Gig?

Because it’s the Polyphonic Spree and they always put on a great show. I only discovered the band a few years ago and there have been very few opportunities to see them in the UK recently. The only other time I’ve seen them was their Rocky Horror night at the Forum last Halloween – which was a great night.

This was a tiny, limited-ticket show to launch their new album Yes It’s True.

Support

There were two support acts, The Bright Ones and No Monster Club. Neither of them seemed particularly suited to supporting The Polyphonic Spree as they were both quite punky. But then, I’m not sure who I would choose to support The Polyphonic Spree – there’s really no-one like them.

Having said that, though, both acts were really good. I’d certainly see them again.

Headline

The Polyphonic Spree seem to be slightly unfashionable. Not everyone appreciates their bonkers brand of choral rock. But there are several hundred people in the audience tonight who clearly don’t care about musical fashion and love the Spree as much (or, probably, more – a few people turn up in robes) as I do.

After the support bands finish the roadies stretch white linen across the front of the stage as an ineffective makeshift curtain. It means that we can only see the feet of the band as they take the stage. As the music starts, Tim DeLaughter takes a can of spray paint and writes “We Are Friends!” across the sheet before cutting it in half to reveal the band.

They open with “Hold Me Now” which is a favourite and gets the crowd singing along to the rousing chorus. The audience have already reached the levels of excitement which you expect about an hour into a set – but they’ve been on stage for about five minutes.

The set is a good mix between the new album and older stuff. And although the new album was only released today many of the fans have already heard it – they got early access through backing the band’s Kickstarter – so many of the songs are already familiar.

The band are on great form. The music sounds great and everyone is obviously having a great time. But all to soon they are playing “We Sound Amazed” and “Soldier Girl” which is a good indication that the show is drawing to an end. They finish with a cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium” during which DeLaughter crossed the barrier, walked out into the crowd and asked everyone to kneel down – which they did. It was an impressive example of the level of engagement between the band and their fans.

And that was it. No encore. We just wandered off into the Shoreditch night full of warm fuzzy feelings. It might be unfashionable. It might all be a bit hippy for some tastes. But a world with The Polyphonic Spree in it is a slightly nicer world.

The setlist is on Setlist.fm.

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