I feel like the Long Cut's becoming all-concert-photos-all-the-time, but there was no way that I was going to leave my camera home for the Polyphonic Spree Free-at-Noon concert I saw a couple of Fridays ago. Usually these concerts give you three or four subjects to shoot, but the Spree provided twenty-four of them (twenty-five if you count opening act Mark Olson - twenty-six if you count Megan Hickey of the Last Town Chorus, who accompanied Olson).
When I wrote about the Polyphonic Spree's newest album, The Fragile Army, a few weeks ago, I referred to their "strange cult-like choir shtick" and mentioned how their songs have a tendency to all start sounding the same after while, but in concert it all works. The band comes across as genuine - more theater than shtick (if that makes any sense - yes, it's an act, but that doesn't mean that they're not into what they're playing) - and their constant enthusiasm on stage keeps you interested in their songs longer than you might have been just listening to them on your CD player. The Spree were obviously made for live shows, and their always-smiling and appropriately-named leader Tim DeLaughter drove that home with a few pleas to buy the new disc so that the band could continue to stay on the road (I can't imagine just how much it must cost to keep this band touring).
The mild Olson, formerly of the Jayhawks, was an odd choice to have open for such a dynamic group (I have a feeling he just happened to be available to stop into 'XPN that day), and he only played four songs (including one oldie from his former band). It would have been great for him to have his own Free-at-Noon concert, but he did a good job filling the little time he was given.