SXSW: First edition

7 pm.  IFC Crossroads House.


Though she is petite, the lead singer, Channy, of Minnesota band Poliça (pronounced “Police-a”) knows how to own a stage.  Her performance is effortless and innate; she is not out to impress or impose.  There is the grace of a ballet dancer in the way she moves, combined with a sexy natural groove.  The band’s music reflects these qualities, dancing across the lines of jazz, rock and pop, and fusing into a category of its own.  The bass lines are brooding but the vocal melodies are bright, which leaves the songs sounding complex yet spirited.

Two skillful drummers sit side by side on individual drumkits and deliver rhythms that get the crowd grooving; the reverb and echoing effects on both Channy’s vocals and the lead guitar call for closing your eyes and getting lost in the wash of bright melodies, while the synthesized humming of keys and horns underneath it all add a balanced richness that is intoxicating.  Channy’s voice is delicate but there is a tension to the way she handles the phrases (notwithstanding the fact that I couldn’t understand a word she was saying) and an edge to her sweetness that hints at the power and versatility of her pipes.  There is something non-traditional in the way she carries a melody that is reminiscent of Bjork, but less eccentric.

As Channy writes on the band’s website:

I’m learning and deciding about the sort of band I want POLIÇA to be. I’m talking about character more than anything else, Ryan will keep the music from getting too stupid, but how we interact with our environment should be top policy.

Drew and CHRIS saved a turtle; great job guys; let’s keep that nature rescue thing going.

Also let’s continue to have a skimpy/non-exsistence rider…we need to stay hungry and un-tended otherwise we get on stage all full and comfy; singing with no inspiration or drive but the desire to get to the green room and eat a jumbo bag of starbursts after we play. No!! I won’t do it.

Based on the eagerness of the crowd at this set, which fell midway through the band’s touring schedule at SXSW, Poliça is about to take the world by storm.  It is not only the skill with which they move towards this, but the conciousness as well, that makes them all the more endearing.


One thought on “SXSW: First edition

  1. Pingback: SXSW: Just a few more things « thiswasgood

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