The Polyphonic Spree perform in Brisbane

My second visit to the Powerhouse on Friday was to see the American band the Polyphonic Spree. The Spree is a Texan outfit with 17 to 27 members on stage at any one time. Possibly due to the difficulties of playing in Australia (though this was their second visit in two years) they were down to the “bare bones” 17 performers that took the stage in New Farm. This included two percussionists, two guitarists, a bassist, three piece brass section, four piece Polyphonic Choir, a flautist, a keyboard player, two piece strings and front man and lead singer Tim DeLaughter. DeLaughter and fellow Polyphonics Pirro and Bryan Wakeland were in the band Tripping Daisy which disbanded in 1999 after the drug overdose death of guitarist Wes Berggren.


I always wondered how DeLaughter and co managed to make money out of touring given the number of band members and they went further in this tour handing out hundreds of free hats, Indian chief headgear, necklaces, masks and bracelets. It made for a colourful audience who expectantly waited for the Spree to emerge from behind the screen.

The foliage was dense.

Finally the band did emerge and put on a terrific show with their own music interspersed by such eclectic offerings as Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die, Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Nirvana’s Lithium.

Went upstairs to get a better view. This was a restricted ticket area only but I mumbled something about being a journalist and was allowed to take a few photos before being booted out.

foliage heaven.

Cowboys entertaining Indians.

A clue to how the band pays for its expenses. Apparently DeLaughter also makes big money from UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s use of “Light and Day / Reach For the Sun” for its advertising.

Tim takes centre stage.

Tim takes side stage.

Stuck in the middle again with you.

Mad balloon time.

End of Act 1. Just Tim left on stage with half the Polyphonic Choir.

More balloons yet to fall.

The Interval shows the foliage in all its glory.

Back for Part 2 in traditional kafkan garb.

Now its paper time and the venue briefly resembles an Argentinian football game.

I loved the Polyphonic paraphernalia over the stage.

More paper lace.

Finally the white balloons are released.

As Tim takes the final encore.

Time for a victory salute.

Before bowing to the audience.

And lining up to say farewell. An enjoyable (and eventful) gig is over.

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