You know why I love SXSW? Where else can you see Disclosure and the Polyphonic Spree on the same bill?
Well, it was supposed to be Shlohmo and Disclosure, which on paper makes a lot more since. However, due to the LA producer’s illness, Texas rockers The Polyphonic Spree subbed in as a last minute replacement. So one person was replaced with a band of 22. I would’ve love to see the look on the soundman’s face that morning.
But hey, it works. As a dude who was curious about Polyphonic (but not actually into them) I chalked up their performance to almost a bucket list type of experience. If you claim to like live shows you have to see them once. The 22 piece band is–not gonna lie–a bit creepy. You don’t know if you’re going to church or if you’re getting indoctrinated into a cult. Having that said, the crew made sure to keep everyone involved, from the horn section, to the charismatic lead singer Tim DeLaughter, to the 8 dancers/supporting vocals which we nicknamed the “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.” In a society where one and two piece bands are becoming the norm, it’s good to see this band keeping it real and doing it their own way.
Speaking of two piece bands, the UK’s Disclosure managed to exceed The Spree’s energy level with 20 less members. The brothers from Surrey and their blend of progressive house music got the entire venue going. The was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the past year–even though it was complete daylight outside, the darkened Hype Hotel venue made it look like it was 3 AM inside, as the brothers blew through tracks from the latest EP.
And as a fan of house music from way back, it’s a beautiful thing to see kids from the younger generation dancing and gyrating to the sound that was made popular during the early 90s in NYC and Chicago. And honestly I think that their brand of house music has a great chance of crossing over.
You can tell the popularity of an artist at SXSW by how many cameraphones come out during a performance, and it’s safe to say that Disclosure has won on that element alone. The only thing missing from their set was an appearance by Aluna (“White Noise”) and Sam Smith (“Latch”). However after a great response at SXSW and a sold out North American tour, I’m sure that won’t be a problem the next time around.