The Polyphonic Spree

The Polyphonic Spree with support from Last Man Standing - Live Review

The Polyphonic Spree with support from Last Man Standing - Live Review
The Polyphonic Spree
with support from Last Man Standing
( Manchester Academy 2, 16/08/05)

Mingling blues, country and rock has often suffered a similar fate to wearing red, green and blue as a fashion statement. However, the trend was bucked in the opening material proffered by the versatile support act Last Man Standing, who produced Neil Young flirting with Jesus and Mary Chain and Whiskeytown offeringswith increasing doses ofLed Zeppelin emerging later on. The standout the power ballad; ‘Came For You’ set a thoughtful yet spirited mood for the evening.

The shrill dulcet tones of a beefeater guard clad town crier and the clanging noises of a bell boy, led a poetic introduction to The Spree’s entrance. The crowd’s enthusiasm was tested immediately when they joined inwith the regular repetition of the motto;

“Together we’re heavy”

The colourful and numerous robe wearers spilled out onto the stage to rapturous applause, before the colourful and charismatic leader; Tim De Laughter set his upbeat and summery vocals into the air, almost as though he was liberating captured doves. Early inclusion of second album stunners; ‘A Long Day Continues/We Sound Amazed’ and the embracing ‘Hold Me Now’ stunned an enthralled crowd, who did not know where to look, with each member of the 20 plus crew losing themselves in the show. They were compact and compelling all night, apart from the errant drummer who did not fall into the first category, as he wandered round the stage like a lost sheep and much to the delight of gatherers; ended up in the crowd.

Thewarm and heartfeltchoral sprung offerings;‘It’s The Sun’ and ‘Light & Day/Reach For The Sun’ saw the The Spree’s heartfelt choir rise in number from ten, to include the 800 or so crowd. De Laughter is a social engineer drawing energy from the crowd and his band to produce a powerful and enthralling show. Although, it was hard tofocus onindividual performances from members ofthis enthusiastic outfit, the flutist Audrey Easley cushioned the band's guitars and horn section with an enchanting performance throughout, reaching a highlight with a hissing almost medieval solo. On top of it all, a birthday boy band member took time to propose to his guitar playing girlfriend (a new addition to the line up), with an overwhelmed but an enthusiastic acceptance, it meant that love was most definitely in the air.

The Spree showed a glimpse of the future with De Laughter regaling us with news of their forthcoming movie; ‘Thumbsucker’ that also features three Elliot Smith songs, one of which was aired tonight, alongside one of their own sonic vibrating new numbers; ‘Move Away And Shine’. The excitement reached devotion point when an elongated and powerful version of the first album scorcher ‘Soldier Girl’ rung out,if you didn’t join in on the chorus then you were left out in the cold. All in all, it has been a tumultuous time for The Polyphonic Spree since their extravagant appearance on the scene a few years ago, they were dropped by their label for their second album, but since finding a home on Good records they have continued to transcend their label’s name. Tonight, with craft and exuberance they put an exclamation mark against their point; simply to have a great time.

David Adair


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