Poliça at the Turf Club, 11/7/2011

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash
November 7, 2011
Turf Club

It takes a special band to completely enthrall an audience with a bunch of songs that most of the crowd hasn't even heard before. And that was indeed the case with Poliça's sold-out show at the Turf Club Monday night, as the band played their as-yet unreleased new album essentially in order during their 55-minute set, transfixing everyone in the room with their sultry, groove heavy songs.

Frontwoman Channy Casselle consistently propelled the songs forward with her soaring, soothing vocals, which she frequently manipulated throughout the performance, sounding distorted and heavily textured one moment, while heartbreakingly vulnerable the next. Bassist Chris Bierden really formed the heart of their dynamic sound, delivering a roiling baseline over the prerecorded material that was augmenting the band's live show. And the soulful rhythms provided by the dual-drums of Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu really gave the diaphanous material an added vitality and much needed punch.

The capacity crowd, who were loudly chatting away during the opening sets, immediately quieted down as Poliça took the stage, a combination of everyone wanting to finally hear what all the hype was about and the fact that the songs were simply bewitching. After honing their seductive sound and their still-developing live show with a bunch of East Coast dates, the local band returned to find an entire music scene waiting for them, as the club was packed with musos of all types, many of whom were getting their first chance to see the fledgling band live.

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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash
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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash

Casselle teased us a bit midway through their performance, playfully introducing a track by saying, "This is a new song. It's going to be on our second album." All of us are still getting our heads around the beguiling material that will eventually make up their debut record, so her statement was particularly humorous. After telling the crowd that the band was playing the record from start to finish, Casselle implored us to "Have these songs ringing in your ears until the album comes out, we're not really sure when that is going to be." 

It's a challenge to analyze songs that you have never heard before, but that unfamiliarity really gave their material a charming, unsettled quality that only added to the live experience. The raw, genuine emotion of the numbers were easily conveyed to an audience searching for something in these unknown tracks to grasp on to. Most often it was Casselle's dulcet vocals that propelled the songs skyward, and she frequently dropped out of sight to the comfort of the stage as if the strong sentiment of the song finally overcame her. The vocal manipulation that she drew on throughout the set was able to mask some of the stark feelings she was expressing without sacrificing any of the passion of their material. It was a heady sonic balance that she, and the rest of the band, executed to perfection.

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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash
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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash
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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash

With all of the hype and hyperbole surrounding Poliça, it would have been quite easy for the band to fold under that pressure and deliver a disappointing set. But Poliça responded with a stirring live performance worthy of all the early adulation and then some, exceeding everyone's already lofty expectations with a show we're all sure to remember for quite a while. This band is truly onto something big here, and we all have the distinct pleasure of seeing them flourish and grow.

Critic's Bias: I was hooked two minutes into the opening track.

The Crowd: A true cross-section of the Twin Cities music scene.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Channy's voice is so sexy."

Random Notebook Dump: Andrew Broder's (performing as BrodR) opening set of experimental beats, samples and many other sonic flourishes was hypnotizing, and served as the perfect setup music for the headliners.

For More Photos: See our full slideshow by Zoe Prinds-Flash.

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