After the dissolution of Tripping Daisy in the
late 1990's, Tim DeLaughter had a good amount of money and a
lot of creativity to spare. He started Good Records in Dallas
to supply indie records to the needy central-Texas wasteland
(hey, I'm from that area too!) and to release records from his
new project, The Polyphonic Spree. And what a project it is:
a group consisting of nearly 30 members creating a sort of psychedelic
indie rock that, once seen, will change how you look at both
This night, the huge band played The Derby. This is one of
the more famous venues in Los Angeles. The place was founded
by Cecil B. Demille in 1945, and during the late 40's and 50's
it was where the movie stars spent their time. Today, it still
shows off it's classic form. The room is small (300 people or
so), and it is dome shaped, so the sound in the room always
seems near perfect regardless of where you stand. I go here
pretty often, but this is the first time that the place has
completely sold out and packed to capacity. I got a great place
to stand right to the left of the larger than normal stage,
and had a great view of everything.
Earlimart, who I have seen several times this year, opened
the show. I've written a review
of them before, and that time they weren't too great. However,
this band has made a point to prove me wrong. Earlimart's songwriting
has certainly solidified in the last year, in preparation for
their upcoming major release on Palm Pictures Records. Their
sound is rocking indie in the style of The Pixies, but adding
a psychedelic element in the form of sonic variations throughout
many of the songs. Every time I see this band, they are better.
Keep an eye out for them in 2003!
After quite a long wait, The Polyphonic Spree began their show
by starting at the back of the packed club and making their
way to the stage pumping up the audience. The group numbers
in the area of 25, including a 10 person choir, guitar, bass,
drums, french horn, trumpet, flute, trombone, tuba, theremin,
two percussionists, piano, organ, a guy fiddling with electronic
noise, and Tim DeLaughter supplying vocals and guitar. Trust
me, it's a lot to take in. I know all of the recorded songs
by heart, I must admit, but they played more than that this
night, creating new versions of old Tripping Daisy songs in
ways that took half a song to realize at times. This show is
not just great and moving music, but an experience. With so
many people on stage there is a continuous expression of joy
throughout the band which at times gives it a very Evangelical
Revival feel...like a praise or worship session at your local
Assembly of God church. Of course, with this many members there
comes many sound problems, balancing out so many voices and
instruments, but they seems to have a good system of creating
the best auditory experience along with the visual aspect of
all those people dancing around and having fun.
All in all, a great show at a great venue. For those in the
Dallas/Ft. Worth area, go see The Polphonic Spree as they play
there all the time. For others, as you can imagine, it's quite
a challenge getting a group of this size on tour (half a dozen
vans at least!), but keep your eyes and ears open for a show.
Otherwise, keep an eye out for Earlimart soon in your town.
They just finished a national tour with Lou Barlow and Alaska
and will be out again soon.