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AAA Music | 28 March 2020

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The Polyphonic Spree – Live @ The Waterfront

| On 13, Jun 2014

Monday 9th June, Norwich

The Polyphonic Spree put on a spectacularly psychedelic choral set at The Waterfront on Monday night; quite how the small venue accommodated the 14 band members on stage was incredible!

The night starts with a band from Norwich: Box of Light, fronted By Helen Anderson who is also known affectionately as Melon Lady, are a five piece with an ear for a catchy guitar pop sound, with melodies that stick in your brain and uplift your soul. They ended their short but sweet set with current single ‘Falling’, which should see them establish themselves as more than just another local Norwich band.

MT (which stands for Many Things) were next with their very energetic lead singer wearing a glitzy jump suit. The band have been touring with ‘Spree and what a great warm-up band they are, surely destined for much bigger venues with their grand, psychedelic soft rock tunes.

Lead

Before The Polyphonic Spree come on a long narrow curtain sheet is placed across the front of the stage, causing much intrigue. DJ Dapper Dave (in Town Crier outfit complete with ringing bell) introduces the band and a spray can starts creating letters backwards on the sheet; when finished it simply read “RIP Rik Mayall”, which was a fitting tribute to the much loved actor who died earlier in the day. The banner is removed and the band are revealed – we have a four-piece orchestral part, a four female strong backing choir, keyboardist, bass and guitar/Theremin player, all in ’60s style robe tops. Lead singer Tim DeLaughter (pronounced dee-LAW-ter) is full of praise for Norwich, proclaiming he loves the place with its “happy people all holding hands”, and indeed there is much love in the audience and on stage.

The ‘Spree’s set starts really strongly but is ultimately a little too long (1 and 3/4 hours) and a few songs near the midway did drag on, but the second half of the set was immense, starting with the rousing ‘Hold Yourself Up’, and then a cover of The Monkees’ ‘Porpoise Song’, plus a very uplifting version of Wings’ Bond theme, ‘Live and Let Die’. The crowd really come to life during ‘Night and Day’ and the set ends with ‘King’, but there was one more song on the set list, which I had a preview of earlier, and this was ‘Soldier Girl’, with DeLaughter jumping off stage into the middle of the audience and really singing his heart out alongside random people, giving a huge, happy euphoric vibe to proceedings.

For a band that have gone through no less than eight labels and have little budget, The Polyphonic Spree certainly live up to the quote “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Why they are not headlining major festivals is baffling, but this venue encapsulated them brilliantly and left many people leaving overcome with joy.

Words: Nigel Nudds + Claire Harvey

Photos: Nigel Nudds

Setlist:

  1. Intro
  2. Hold Me Now
  3. Popular By Design
  4. Hanging Around
  5. Running Away
  6. 2000 Places
  7. Younger
  8. You Dont Know Me
  9. Hold Yourself Up
  10. Porpoise Song
  11. Light To Follow
  12. Diamonds
  13. Live and Let Die
  14. We Are The Champions (excerpt)
  15. King
  16. Soldier Girl