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Friday, November 16, 2007

Hold me now, don't stop shaking

CONCERT REVIEW: The Polyphonic Spree/Rooney
November 15, 2007
Rex Theater, Pittsburgh

The Polyphonic Spree played in Pittsburgh last night for the first time, in a cozy club called the Rex Theater. Incredibly, they all fit on the stage. Barely. I only counted 22 musicians though, instead of the usual 27 - maybe an unlucky five had to sit this one out. There was also one guy whose only apparent job was to run the confetti machines.

The Spree put on a good show. It would be almost impossible for them not to, what with their grandiose songs and massive size - just having that many musicians on stage makes the show a spectacle, by definition. Hold Me Now and a cover of Live and Let Die were highlights, but the band played for just under an hour, including encores. That's criminally short. I spent most of the show looking forward to the encore, expecting to hear the two songs that drove the crowd nuts at Lollapalooza - When a Fool Becomes King, and a cover of Nirvana's Lithium. Instead, they played neither.

The show ended in odd fashion after a two-song encore, with singer Tim DeLaughter pleading for a good two minutes with the crowd to go buy merch (Did you know that you can actually buy one of their trademark robes? That'll set you back $55.) You could tell the rest of the band was waiting for Tim to instruct them what the next song would be, but instead he ended the show.

The opener (and apparent co-headliner) was emo pop band Rooney, and they were pretty good, especially on Are You Afraid, a catchy little synth number with Mr. Roboto vocals that sounded straight out of 1983. But they went on way too long - 70 minutes! For an opening act! That just made the Spree's short performance stand out all the more.

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