School and work have been keeping me pretty busy so last Monday when I awoke from a much needed late afternoon nap I actually considered not going to the Polica show. I weighed my options… stay home and catch up on some relax time, or go out to a show by myself? I already bought my tickets and had been excited about this show for a while, so I couldn’t quite justify not going. I needed a little pre-concert pump up so I grabbed a Red Bull and headed out. Best decision of my week.
I usually like to research opening bands, but decided not to this time around and wasn’t sure what to expect with the openers Total Fucking Blood and Marijuana Deathsquads. As I walked into the Old Rock House I heard quite the raucous coming from the stage. The sounds of Total Fucking Blood. They’ve got a grungy/hardcore/thrash thing going on, and frankly I wasn’t really sure why such an intense band would open for the Polica. Hardcore bands aren’t usually my thing, but in hindsight, the flow of the music beginning with TFB, then listening to Marijuana Deathsquads play before Polica worked pretty nicely.
After TFB, in the middle of the floor at the Old Rock House, members of Marijuana Deathsquads gathered around a table that was set up with quite the array of pedals, synthesizers, and other electronic-sound producing things. Imagine Dan Deacon, but more hardcore and less weird, with lots of autotune and vocal effects, and you probably have something fairly close to the sound produced by Marijuana Deathsquads. The band is led by Ryan Olson of Gayngs and a couple other members, but that evening Channy Leaneagh and both drummers from Polica stood in with the band as well. Since I didn’t have much previous knowledge of the band, I was a bit confused about whether or not the members from Polica were in the band or not. Later on I talked to Polica’s manager (also one of Bon Iver’s managers), Nate Vernon, and he said that Marijuana Deathsquads has a rotating cast of members, much like Gayngs, which I’m sure keeps things pretty interesting.
Polica took the stage and played most of their tunes from their newly released album Give You The Ghost as well as a couple new songs. Channy Leaneagh led the group, but didn’t stand front and center, instead opting to stand in the shadows of the lights stage right. Although there are reoccurring themes of abandonment and unease throughout Polica’s lyrics, Channy sang with an overwhelming calmness. Despite the calm, it was easy to see the emotion and passion emanating from within her through her closed eyes and unconfined dancing. Channy set the mood and set it right.
Polica is composed of Channy’s vocals, two drummers who also manned the background electronics, and bass. A simple setup with a lot of oomph. Whenever a band has two drummers and pulls it off well, I’m automatically impressed and Polica certainly didn’t fall short. Listening to the songs live definitely made them come alive and jump out, but still maintained the sound of the album really well. Polica has gained some well-deserved notoriety lately, and I sure hope you’ll catch them on tour in the next few months. They’re done touring for a couple weeks but start back up on March 19th at The Basement in Nashville. Check out their full tour schedule here.