Thanks to wintery MN roads claiming the assigned Photographer’s car as victim, I found myself rushing to First Avenue to fill in for her. How rushed? I committed the one sin I tell new photographers to avoid. I wore a band t-shirt – not Poliça’s thankfully, that would have been to embarrassing to bear ;).
Miraculously I managed to catch the end of IN // VIA set. A couple of songs from the box office waiting for approval of the assignment switch and one with a view :). Her music captured my attention right away as I was still waiting at the box office. IN // VIA is a new solo synth project by Nona Marie Invie. The title of her album is “Meditations” and that pretty much sums up her sound.
Divide and Dissolve was the next performer. The set started with the audience being asked for quiet and a spoken word statement about the US being an occupied land and white supremacy. I think most of the crowd was not ready for the “in your face” approach but most respected Divide and Dissolve right to speak their mind and more than a few supporting cheers were heard with a few muttered protests. The music started with samples of soprano sax blended with bass and drum. The sound was a drone, jarring, uncomfortable and challenging. Art’s purpose at times is to push people out of their comfort zone, feel vulnerable, and question themselves. If that was the goal, Divide and Dissolve certainly reached it. One may agree with their statement or not, but it’s the freedom to express different opinions that should be the most cherished of them all. Oh, and that band t-shirt I wore? It had the band’s name in white germanic style letters printed on the back, an old school rockabilly white dude band – ooops.
Poliça’s collaboration with Berlin’s s t a r g a z e had slipped under my radar. S t a r g a z e is a collective of musicians led by conductor André de Ridder, based in Berlin, Germany. The result is their new album “Music for the Long Emergency”.
Poliça have always been an artsy band, re-inventing themselves, but somehow had never quite “clicked” for me. But the addition of the horns, winds and strings pushed the sound to the next level. My jaw pretty much hit the floor, this was a thing of beauty. Channy Leaneagh’s voice floated through the layers of instruments and resonated with me in a way it never had before.
Freed from behind her keyboard Leaneagh and dressed in a long coat, took center stage with an elfin presence. To say the the lights were spot on, would be an understatement. Look the pictures and then add 100% awesome. The camera does not have the range of color to capture the depth and nuances. “How is this Happening” (I think) saw a pair of dancers on stage to add to the magic. “Cursed” brought a harder, more chaotic sound blending hip hop into the mix. I usually write my reviews in a corner of the venue not looking at the stage (no keep my photographer ADHD mind from going bonkers) but this set found me constantly sneaking peeks just to see the glorious light show.
A show I had not planned to attend turned into of the most interesting evenings in recent memory.
Set List: Speaking Of Ghost / Fake Like / Marrow / Berlin / How Is This Happening / Angel / Lipstick Stains / Agree / Cursed / Reich / Something In The Water / Music For The Long Emergency