Eons ago, when I was a kid, I remember spending a lot of time with a record called "Music: How It's Made and Played." It was an orchestral-music primer, introducing all the different instruments and the way they blended together, and it had that Disney knack for making the subject both accessible and mysterious. When all those instruments cranked up together, it sounded like the spookiest soundtrack ever.
Somehow, The Polyphonic Spree conjures up that same feeling. The group played Cat's Cradle Saturday night, their first Triangle show in some years, delivering another lovely dose of rapture. It's odd to think of a 15-piece band as "stripped down"; nevertheless, this was indeed the leanest version of the Spree that I've ever seen. Flautist Audrey Easley was missing, and this configuration also didn't have harp or theremin.
But Tim Delaughter, the Walt Disney of symphonic indie-rock spectacle, was still out front, channeling his and your inner child. There was also a xylophone, a three-piece horn section and a killer cello player. And even though they didn't do the one that always make me mist up, they did "Soldier Girl," "When the Fool Becomes a King" and a drop-dead perfect medley of "See Me Feel Me/Listening to You"-"Pinball Wizard" (if ever a band was meant to cover The Who, it's Polyphonic Spree).
There was laughter, a lot of jumping up and down, smiling -- plus confetti. Lots and lots of confetti. A joyous 90 minutes of bittersweet whimsy that left me feeling 8 years old again, and that's always a good thing.
So why weren’t you there?
(Photo: Patty Chase)