Review: Polica at Bluebird Theater, 11/26/13
POLICA at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 11/26/13
Somewhere in the relentless blur of the first ten minutes of Poliça's pounding performance at the Bluebird Theater last night, Chris Bierden's bass strings broke, and Poliça had to do something it has rarely done since hitting the scene a few years ago -- it paused. The act's charming frontwoman Channy Leaneagh took the opportunity to make a weed joke and soak in the near capacity crowd in a venue that the outfit has played before in the last two years but never seen quite this full.
Since the fall release of the group's second album, Shulamith, Polica's rep has grown bigger and bigger. Judging from the reactions of the audience, this crowd was either intimately familiar with the Minneapolis quartet's two albums or becoming fast new fans. The setlist was a best of the story so far that mostly concentrated on the claustrophobic vibes of Shulamith interspersed with highlights from the first album like "Chain My Name."
You simply can't help but be seduced by the sound of a band that has dedicated 50 percent of its efforts to the rhythm section. As a singer, Leaneagh seems to be in love with the interplay of lilting vocals against hard beats, so much so that her lyrics are near impossible to pick out on casual listen. The effect draws you in, to the extent that the crowd was slow to come out of their haze and applaud some songs, others were hanging over the rail on the mezzanine, as if the only thing holding them up was Leaneagh's voice.
People like to talk a lot about the double drums of Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu, and for good reason: Their parity keeps the navel gazing funky, which is something a lot of electro bands forget to do. "Dark Star" jams hard in this arrangement, and the menacing "Very Cruel" threatened to overwhelm the venue with rumbling drums. Interestingly Leaneagh laid off the vocal effects that her band has become known for. The effects were subtle here and barely audible in the mix and mostly augmented her vocals, which were stunning.