Last Thursday, on November 19 2015, The Polyphonic Spree came to the Independent in San Francisco to celebrate their 15 year anniversary. Joining them on tour was the equally eccentric ANDY, and the quasi-celebrity comedian Magic Cyclops.
Starting off the night was an overly late Magic Cyclops. You might remember his TV debut as a wannabe contestant on American Idol where he sang a dead on rendition of Cracklin Rosie, or you might know him from his time on the US Air Guitar circuit., however any notion of who this man actually is goes right out the window when you see him live. Although he was lacking in band members compared to the rest of the artists playing that night, Magic Cyclops had the audience captivated for nearly 30 minutes.
After a brief set up period the band from Seattle known as ANDY took the stage. With the lead singer rocking the bass in a perfectly bedazzled speedsuit, and the backup singers sporting matching unibrows, ANDY felt like something out of a David Bowie movie. However with their out-of-this-world styled vocals and tribute songs to Andy (a friend of theirs who went missing in 2005), this 6 piece from the North West definitely made a mark on an already enthusiastic crowd.
When the floor in front of the stage started to fill out again, it was clear that The Polyphonic Spree was about to come on stage. The lights went low and the many musicians that is The Polyphonic Spree took the stage. With nearly 20 members in the band ranging from a 5 piece choir, duel harps, drums, violins, guitars, and a horns section, the Polyphonic Spree is one of the most unique acts to witness live. Fronted by none other than Tim Delaughter, who recently turned 50, The Polyphonic Spree is a welcome change to the usual negativity that comes out of the media these days.
Playing their debut album “The Beginning Stages of…” in its entirety, Delaughter and his band infused the Independent with unbridled happiness and joy. Although Delaughter was suffering from a cold, his vocals on tracks like ‘It’s the Sun’ and ‘Soldier Girl’ were still on point, and he missed a beat while bouncing around the stage smiling and singing. At the end of the album, the band took a short intermission to change clothes and then preceded to rock out with another hours worth of hits, including ‘Together we’re heavy’ and ‘We Sound Amazed’.
Delaughter remarked to me in an interview once over 10 years ago, that he didn’t know how long the band would be able to sustain touring, due to the obvious expense that is required of touring with 20 band members. Although I am sure that the band has struggled with this in the past, I take comfort to see that they are still striving to bring happiness to the masses, and that the fans are still there to support such an important band.