Houston Calling

Review: The Polyphonic Spree, Warehouse Live (Houston), 6.25.07

June 26th, 2007 · No Comments

The pink balloon of hope is undoubtedly withered by now but last night Tim DeLaughter held it up to a packed crowd at Houston’s Warehouse Live. The Polyphonic Spree frontman is all about hope. And love. And peace. And with the band’s new album, The Fragile Army, he’s also about politics. President Bush, the war in Iraq, and the world’s current view of the United States weigh heavily on DeLaughter and company — all 24 of them — and they aim to bring this to audiences’ attention on The Fragile Army tour, which started last weekend. To this point, the Houston show started with the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” projected onto a red banner stretched across the stage. Shortly after the song, DeLaughter cut his way through the banner and finally let the audience see the onstage spectacle that is The Polyphonic Spree.

By now, most people have either heard about or witnessed firsthand the group’s shtick: the white robes and hippie, almost cult-like vibe. The horns, multiple guitarists, the flautist, the harp, two drummers, the female choir. Most of that is intact on this tour. With The Fragile Army, however, The Polyphonic Spree instead dons black militaristic uniforms reminiscent of choice scenes from Pink Floyd: The Wall. The album’s songs are also darker — DeLaughter is still preaching hope, but now it’s hope for a better future for America — and the world — once President George W. Bush leaves office.

The band mostly played tunes from The Fragile Army, including upbeat single and show opener “Running Away,” one of the set’s highlights, and the rousing “The Championship.” The band also gave fans a lot of material from its debut, The Beginning Stages Of… and the underrated Together We’re Heavy, including an ear-splitting “Hold Me Now” and “It’s The Sun.” The band’s cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium” (from its 2006 Wait EP) was another crowd pleaser, but noticeably and surprisingly absent was “Light & Day/Reach For The Sun,” probably my favorite of the band’s songs. At the end of the show it really didn’t matter — the crowd was singing along (on a Monday night, no less), smiling, dancing, and showing DeLaughter and The Polyphonic Spree the love they deserve. Watching the band’s Houston show renewed my faith in the power of music — it’s been a long time since I have seen a roomful of smiling faces. Like a friend said to me during the show, “I defy someone to come to a Polyphonic Spree show and not leave with a smile on his face.”

The world definitely needs more people like Tim DeLaughter.

Tags: Music

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