After years of coming to SXSW there are a few memories that stand out in my mind, like the return of Andrew WK, seeing Foster the People before anyone knew who they were, but most of all you remember just how fun it is to see a great band for the first time. While I’m a little late to the party, the Polyphonic Spree gave me one of those wonderful SXSW memories.
The band had always been on my list as a must see, but due to circumstances our paths never crossed. I’d see them play all the late night TV shows and just didn’t get the hype. I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong, Polyphonic Spree is the real deal and worth all the hype.
There is just something about those bands that bleed happiness, with some it can be over-bearing and annoying, but when done right it can make a fan want to get on the bus and drink the Kool-Aid. The latter is what happened to me on Tuesday night.
Front man Tim DeLaughter knows how to work a crowd and give off the impression that he’s never had an unhappy day in his life! His charisma is magnetizing and something that you must witness in person. DeLaughter’s band of worshipers filled the stage at Red 7 to capacity leaving little room for action. That didn’t’ stop DeLaughter though, at times his energy would be pushed into the middle of the packed crowd.
You can tell that everyone in the band believes that their music has the power to change the world. This enthusiasm is shared by even the furthest backup dancer that waits in anticipation for their chance to join in on the choir. It’s aspects like this that may lead you to think that the band had been to one to many Flaming Lips’ concerts and loved the idea so much that they had to replicate it. In some aspects you would be right, but the feeling is still honest and songs like “Reach for the Sun” have an energy that exceeds the cult-like attire.
If you haven’t seen the band, rush to do so, they are as amazing as everyone says they are. The only issue you will have is deciding whether to return home at the end of the night or figuring out a way that you can join the band. Either way for two hours you’ll feel like one of the family.
By Ryan Davis