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The Polyphonic Spree
Wednesday-Thursday, Nov. 19-20. Slim's, 333 11 St., San Francisco, 415.255.0333, 8pm. $15

You know the transitional moments in '70s feel-good movies, where the dumped on boy gets back at the bully and pulls the girl? And do you remember the orchestral swell that accompanies the scene when the two lovers finally embrace each other? Magnify that song and image 10 times, and you begin to approach the jubilant tone of the Polyphonic Spree.

The Dallas "symphonic pop band" made its debut three years ago. Today, it has become a growing sensation, appearing on an iPod/VW commercial ("Light and Day," which oddly isn't available on iTunes) and blowing away the masses in Europe and at Coachella 2003. Polyphonic Spree culminates a curious trip begun by Tim DeLaughter, who used to be in the '90s post-grunge band Tripping Daisy. After one of the members passed away, the band broke up, and DeLaughter never quite got over the loss. He got with two other Tripping Daisy members and sought to create music that matched the spiritual tone of music he heard in his youth.

DeLaughter thought big. He recruited a full orchestra that includes timpani, glockenspiel, harp, theremin and a 13-person chorus. The group performs clad in flowing white robes. DeLaughter leads the chaos that builds and churns like an indie-rock version of Jesus Christ Superstar produced by Brian Wilson. There's also a not-so-slight nod to those '70s positive rave-ups like Up With People. The most obvious comparison to Polyphonic Spree is the Flaming Lips, which shares a similar symphonic grandeur.

On the group's debut, The Beginning Stages of ... The Spree's music has a transcendent quality where even the most jaded indie hipster ends the pocket pool game and gets caught up in the moment. As one fan initiating a new listener at a 2003 SXSW show said, "You'll leave with the goofiest feeling, like you're bouncing on air." He was so right. (Todd Inoue)

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Winter Music Guide 2003
The Fingerbangerz
The Faction
David Bowie
The Matches
The Ataris
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Good Charlotte
Hot Water Music
The Polyphonic Spree
Ticketmaster's new bid-for-tickets system
Winter music listings

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From the October 30-November 5, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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