The Polyphonic Spree | The ArtsCenter | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
This is a past event.

The Polyphonic Spree 

When: Fri., Aug. 29, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $22
Two guitars, bass, drums, a horn section, a string section, a piano, a harp, a choir and Tim DeLaughter: The current lineup of the psychedelic pop group The Polyphonic Spree boasts 16 members. They travel in a bus that sleeps 27 people at maximum occupancy, the largest one commercially available in the United States.

"It's the smallest we've ever been," says DeLaughter. 

Since its 2000 inception, The Polyphonic Spree has had one principle—to overwhelm. At their biggest, when they rode large on the impossibly sunshiney 2002 hit, "Light and Day/Reach for the Sun," their membership swelled close to 30.

It doesn't take a business degree to question the basic mathematic difficulty that results on tour.  

"It's causing me great financial pressure, like it always does," says DeLaughter. "It's not like The Polyphonic Spree is a massive success and has a huge-ass following and we've made it after 14 years, or anything. It's still a huge DIY project. Our sound is out there, but it doesn't justify the means, financially. It's so rewarding to me, musically and artistically. I feel like I'm making a contribution. So I'll keep going, but man, it's tough." 

Why not go smaller still?

"It's not that simple. It's a sound, and you're talking about adjusting the concept of this whole idea," he says. "It's still an onslaught of sonics coming through the speakers. I can do anything I want musically with this core that I've got right now. I can't go any smaller. Well I could, but it'd be cheating, and then I'd fucking wallow in my sorrow like a drunk and homeless person." 

In 2013, Kickstarter provided a cash boost of $130,000 for recording Yes, It's True and touring behind it. It's a more intimate version of The Polyphonic Spree, in a way, stressing the vast dynamic possibilities of the band over flaunting their most maximal capability. But live, stripping down or swapping out four members for two iPods, say, just won't cut it. 

"That's just what's happened with music in general," DeLaughter says. "I pride myself that we're out here doing the real thing." —Jeff Klingman

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