. : : July 29th, 2011 : : .
The first thing I noticed about Polynesian Bride is that the front man didn’t look like he knew what he was doing.
He played the opening song, Clap My Hands, with that stiff, uncomfortable, jerky motion created by extending the shoulder and elbow usually only seen by people playing guitar for the first, second and MAYBE third time in their life. Also, his eyes were glued to his fretting hand — a sure sign of someone uncomfortable with the guitar, or at least not performing long enough to have committed the song to muscle memory.
The second thing I noticed was that Polynesian Bride had an absolutely over-the-top ridiculous number of people on the stage. The Polynesian Bride Facebook fan page lists a baker’s dozen members on the active roster. Yes, seriously: thirteen people. (ed. note: if anyone knows WHICH of the listed performers is the aforementioned front man, please let me know. It would be a great help in ditching the awful pronouns!) The number on people on stage closely rivaled the number of people in the audience due to it being an early set at one of several of the venues around the city participating in the Out Of The Box festival.
By the second song, Australia, it was clear that I was right about only one of my first impressions. Turns out, the dude knew exactly what he was doing. He slowly seemed to play with more confidence and the band began to click in a very apparent way. The song’s repetitive chorus has an amazingly hook via the great vocal harmonizing that single-handedly squashed all of my former trepidation.
With the early turning point in the set out of the way, the band continued to fire on all cylinders, rarely stopping to banter or introduce songs, but instead jumping from one three-minute punk gem to the next. In the early moments of the set, I really didn’t think I was going to like these guys but they won me over quickly and kept giving me reasons to stay interested. An impressive feat.
The band describes their genre as “Gypsy Folk Punk”, which is as apt a title as I could have come up with. But there’s a lot more influences here than they let on. Glam, early-era rock ‘n’ roll, jazz are just a handful of the clear influences. Amazingly, in spite of the fact that the astounding number of band members were never left with nothing to do for very long, the large variety of often rotating instruments rarely seemed to clash — and when they did, it was to a well-executed cacophonous effect of horns, keys, strings and voice.
Slotting seven songs into a scant, no-nonsense twenty-five minute set, I left intrigued. I want to hear more. I want to hear an album. Unfortunately, information on the band online is next to non-existent, and there’s no immediately apparent forth-coming activity. Until then, this so-so recording will have to do.
More of the Out of the Box festival in the next few days!
- Clap My Hands
Thanks to Polynesian Bride, The Rest, The Great Hall, and the Out of the Box festival.