Polyphonic Spree @ Bowery Ballroom 7/8/13

Photo credit: Greg Notch

Photo credit: Greg Notch

It takes epic, care-free, and gloriously celebratory acts like Polyphonic Spree’s show at Bowery Ballroom to realize that New York City – with its equal power to inspire both joy and despair – is one magnificently ongoing cabaret.

So no one questioned the ridiculous image of an 18 piece band dressed in psychedelic togas as if in some Kesey-esque acid-dropping spiritualist cult. We didn’t question the hunched man distributing balloons to throw over the balcony on cue, nor the head-banging harpist, dancing cellist, nor the charmed and erratic gestures of lead singer, Tim DeLaughter. Music, cities, cults – they all are built upon some unquestionable charisma. When we stop questioning things we can celebrate life. You get lost in songs that are nothing short of epic despite their quirkiness. The Spree’s “Hold Me Now” certainly fit the bill.

Also of note was opening act, Harper Simon, son of Paul. He played engaging alt-90s/early 2000’s style rock with the relaxed neurotic glaze of a star’s son. In between tunes, Harper spoke of great shows and terrible shows he’s played and growing up in New York City. All this to say, none of us have it easy in this crazy city, but when the stars align we’ve got a hell of a lot to celebrate.

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About Matthew Herzfeld

Matt Herzfeld is a freelance writer, music supervisor and musician, and serves as Music Project Manager for the French Music Office at the French Embassy in the US. He is based in New York City.
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