Review: Polica and Night Moves at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN. April 24, 2013

Published on April 25, 2013 by Jeff Becker.

Polica, Ronia and Night MovesD7K_2467_filtered

  • First Avenue,
  • Minneapolis, MN.
  • April 24, 2013

Review:

Channy Leanagh didn’t seem herself at times.   She charmingly stumbled through her delivery to the crowd in-between songs at times, including a very humorous moment just before the encore began where she stopped in mid-sentence and placed her hand on her forehead (see the thumbnail photo of this moment in the gallery), forgetting what she wanted to say.    For her, she was embarrassed.   For us, it made us smile as the crowd collectively gave Leanagh a 90 minute group hug during an energetic jam-packed hometown performance at First Avenue.  At other times her words were indecipherable as she looked down towards her keyboard settings while trying to chat.  No one seemed to mind.  This wasn’t C-Span.

I’ve seen some shows with higher crowd energy (Passion Pit – 2012), but not many.   The venue was elbow to elbow and depending on who you ask (the latest capacity number I was given was 1680) there wasn’t much remaining oxygen in the tiny pockets of space that were unoccupied.   New songs were played (including the new, outstanding non-album single “Tiff”) in between the debut album tracks – an album which 98% of the crowd already owned before walking in the door.   At this time, Polica rules Minneapolis because who cares if The Replacements just made some new music and of course, Prince doesn’t do First Avenue anymore.

Polica has had a well-documented, meteoric climb to fame – and not just with the hometown D7K_2553Minneapolis crowd.  From one side of the states to the other, twice, then overseas – and then hitting the big time at Coachella.  Their fan base has grown steadily – and quickly.   Wednesday night showcased precisely why.   They have an attractive and unique stage setup – two powerful drummers seated adjacent to each other, a talented bassist providing the show’s undercurrent and the wiry Leanagh squirming her way around the stage like a friendly predator – the kind you actually want to get seized by.   Polica’s brand of electro indie-pop fits like a glove in 2013.   Not the Tegan and Sara style of top 40-D7K_2693_filteredlike pop, but instead Polica are trying to be up there with the big boys – Metric, Passion Pit, MGMT and others such as School of Seven Bells.   Their music is darker, often mid-tempo and the 2nd drummer provides an element that is new and differentiates them from their peers.   Leanagh is engaging and cautious, both at the same time.  Bouncing from side to side onstage she rarely came all the way to the front edge – where there was ample room to come within inches of the crowd.    This was in stark contrast to the stage dive that Annie Clark performed last spring at this same venue – while still singing lead vocals no less.   Leanagh’s most exciting feature isn’t her dancing or singing, it’s the potential she has for next time.   She’s young, vibrant and it’s obvious that the next level she may reach could be dangerously high.   To label her an early Shirley Manson is unfair to both ladies, but not unrealistic.  Polica’s music will need to grow, much like their aforementioned peers did at their early stages.   Perfecting their unique stage presence further with a larger, stellar back catalog to choose from will do both Leanagh and Polica well.   The head start they have right now in such a short time implies they have no intention of releasing their stranglehold on Minneapolis.

–TWTHS

Setlist:

  • Leading to Death
  • I See My Mother
  • Dark Star
  • Exit Raw (new song)
  • Wandering Star
  • Tiff (new song)
  • Trippin Down (new song)
  • Form
  • Lay Your Cards Out
  • Vegas (new song)

Encore

  • Nobody
  • Amongster

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