polyphonic glee

Over the years, I’ve been to a lot of gigs, and I mean a lot of gigs. A while back I tried to figure out roughly how many, and quickly gave up once I realised that it wasn’t the sort of number I could count on the fingers of one hand unless, of course, it featured close to 3000 fingers. So anyway, I guess the excitement I get from going to see bands play has slowly diminished over the years. As a kid I’d save my money up to pay for coach trips to glamourous cities like Leicester where artists such as Toyah Wilcox (yeah, I know) would provide quite magical nights out. These were real events, these evenings, few and far between. Then I moved to London, what had been an occasional treat became an almost nightly event, and attending gigs turned into a habit, little different from eating breakfast or taking a bath. Recently I’ve slowed down quite a lot, but still like to get out from time to time to see if I can understand what the hell it is that bands are on about these days, and perhaps try and recapture the wonder of those early experiences. Tonight, it actually happened.

The Polyphonic Spree are quite incredible. If you can imagine The Langley Schools Music Project performing the greatest hits of The Flaming Lips at a Seventh Day Adventists toga party you’d be getting about as close as I can describe, but boy, that really doesn’t do it justice. This was really something else, an utterly joyous, almost celestial occasion. Witnessing 27 (count ’em!) musicians perform with such euphoric, near-religious fervour, it seems entirely appropriate that the venue is a church. They finish with a rousing version of the only David Bowie song I truly love, ‘Five Years,’ by which time the audience have invaded the stage, strangers are hugging each other in the pews, and the theramin player has leapt fifteen feet from the pulpit, executed a perfect forward roll upon landing on the stage, and bounded to his feet with a mile wide grin before falling into the arms of the trombonist. Am I allowed to swear? Of course I am, it’s my website. Absolutely fucking outstanding. I’ve never wanted to join a cult, but if this lot came a-knockin’ I’d sign on the dotted line tomorrow.

Well, perhaps not tomorrow. I’m off to see Ben Kweller in concert.


  1. Stop, you’re making me bitter. I wanted to see them at Leeds, but they clashed with the Strokes, Soulwax, and the Aphex Twin. I wanted to go to the Union Chapel gig, but, predictably, I was too disorganised. Hugely looking forward to the up-coming album, though…

  2. i was there, i was there.
    god bless.

  3. hey man, i saw polyphonic spree at reading, and they were definitely the highlight of the weekend. they clashed with the strokes and all my friends left to see the strokes half way through, but i stayed and kept my place at the front. they came back because the strokes had finished early :) i beat everyone

  4. i counted 24 of them

  5. saw them a leeds, and then amazingly saw them agian in Los Angeles.

    they were even better in a small club.

    They opened for L.A.’s hot new pop act the green and yellow tv(who were also quite good)

  6. keep the faith!
    anton alfred newcombe / the brian jonestown massacre