The Polyphonic Spree's Best Dallas Show Ever: Review, Photos and Setlist
The Polyphonic Spree's album release show at The Granada starts in seven minutes, and there is no water in the refrigerator backstage. A couple members of the choir ask band manager Chris Penn where the water bottles are. Penn asks Granada Backstage Manager Wes McIntyre. McIntyre says he just filled the refrigerator up.
The choir members grab some warm bottles and head onstage through an opening in a black curtain. Penn starts putting water bottles in the fridge, and McIntyre says, "That thing was full ten minutes ago."
The Polyphonic Spree, at somewhere around 20 members, depending on the show, consume water bottles faster than nearly any other band on the planet. Same for plane tickets and hotel beds and food and paisley-patterned cotton robes. The Spree's magnitude has formed much of the band's identity over its 13-year existence. Delaughter has often said industry types didn't know what to do with such a beast. That's debatable, given the world tours and precious metal certifications and appearances on late-night talk shows and medical sitcoms and car commercials.
But all that stuff pays exactly the same whether you're a solo artist or a 20-piece mini-orchestra, a point Delaughter has also made frequently. The profit margins for being a mid-size indie rock band have never been great and they're getting worse.
In a video for a Kickstarter campaign in October of last year, he presented the issue as a binary: We need more money or we'll have to shut down the band. But there is actually a third option, which is to tour with a core group - something less than six - and hire the mini-orchestra and choir in each city. That's how every other band using this instrumentation does it.
The Spree could do it. It's Tim Delaughter's band - his idea, his songs, his vision. It's been that way since the beginning. And members have come and gone - it's not like this exact group of people has been the band forever. Parts come and go, people come and go. It's probably true that they'd sell the same number of tickets in Prague with Delaughter, four people he's touring with and a bunch of gun-for-hire locals as they do with 17 people they carted all the way from Dallas. But that's not how they do it. It's not how they'll ever do it. "Why not??" asks trumpet player Matt Bricker incredulously. "It's the one and only Polyphonic Spree."
"At the beginning, it was an experiment," says Delaughter. "I really thought this was something I could pull together. But what I figured out was that the beauty of this band was that it became something I couldn't predict. It is un-owned."