The Polyphonic Spree Goes Down Under.
There's no question that the Polyphonic Spree is quite literally the biggest band in town. All jokes about dozen-plus member outfit aside, the group has also arguably been Dallas' most noteworthy musical export for the past decade. But rarely has anyone ever peeled back the curtain and gotten to really know the personalities of the group's individual members — or seen them sans stage uniforms, for that matter. As the band embarks on a world tour in support of its new Yes, It's True LP, all 15 of the band's touring members have agreed to contribute to a daily behind-the-scenes look at what it's really like to hit the road with the Polyphonic Spree. Read more about the band members who will be contributing to these daily dispatches here. Then just hang on. It's gonna be quite the ride.
Elizabeth Evans, choir. In Sydney, Australia.
One thing is to be said: Koreans have no idea what food to serve. If ever there is a company to make more money and upgrade, it is airline food.
Yesterday's show [in Korea] was amazing. The kind of enthusiasm that is reserved, in my knowledge, for anime characters. In fact, our setting reminded me of some of the voice work I have done; colorful and lively with an unrealistic touch. With everything surrounding the show — the time constraints, making the flights — I felt a tiny bundle of nerves for the first time in a very long time. As I sat behind the scrim watching our own colorful, unrealistic band start the language between one another — a combination of head nods, string plucking and sometimes just a simple eye contact — I began to worry about the crowd. From where I was, it didn't seem like much. Mind you, I performed on stage with two people in the audience, but for some reason I said a tiny prayer that we weren't here on just a wing and a prayer.
We weren't. The crowd of more-than-excited watchers came and brought more than just people, but spirit. At any given moment looking into the crowd, there were monkey masks, box-head men, colorful wigs, a dancing train. And as it happens every time, the adrenalin is released and seems to spread fast through our stage, hitting members and manifesting itself through one's interpretation — from raucous circular strumming to hair swinging or to flying off one's given place to the stage. The energy is undeniable, and possibly the reason we were able to haul ass and get to the airport.
As we tried to cool off and decompress, the last little bumps of energy came out through spots and hollers and champagne toasts. Sounds pretty rock and roll.
Then, with that Cinderella memory afloat, I'm here, dissecting my porridge that was served for breakfast.
Good thing South Korea has their spirit.
Mark Pirro, bassist. At Splendour in the Grass Festival in Byron Bay, Australia.
After 13 or so hours of travel, we just arrived at the Splendor in the Grass Festival. We have a photo shoot soon and, in a few more hours, we perform. Too wiped out to report anything more.
Natalie Young, choir. At Splendour in the Grass Festival in Byron Bay, Australia.
We're in Byron Bay. It's 2:15 p.m. I'm not entirely sure what day it is.
I got some solid internet and checked out the old Facebook to discover that a very talented Dallas actor, hilarious guy and all around sweet, sweet, sweet human, Ryan Roach, passed.
Ryan, you will be missed. Pet pets.
LOVE THE LIFE YOU CHOOSE.
Buffi Jacobs, cellist. At The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Once again, I open with an apology. Things got a little hectic the last few days and I was not able to report in.
As you know, in my life, work comes first. I have had several long flights to reflect, meditate and maybe try to catch a wink or two — or three. The upside to this neglect is that I now have lots share.
Flight from Korea to Sydney:
Movies watched: The Host. And by watched, I mean dozed in and out of. I slept the majority of the flight.
The food? Terrible! Worst ever. Not kidding. Not exaggerating. Wish I had slept through the food service.
Then we deplaned, stood in line forever and boarded a quick flight to Byron Bay. After a brief van ride, we arrived at the festival.
Splendour in the Grass Festival:
There was mud. Lots of mud.
But the catering, I must say, was amazing! Cory [Helms] and I ordered the sweet potato empanada and then, for desert, we had some chocolate molten chili cake with ice cream thingy. It was FANTASTIC! I wish I had taken a pic. Maybe Cory did?
The show at Splendour – – as with every festival show — was all fast-paced; the energy was great, the crowd was amazing. Despite all of us being extremely exhausted from our travels, I feel that we rocked out in true Polyphonic fashion!
The Byron at Byron:
This hotel is a freaking wonderland! I'm looking into coming back here for Christmas. Had a wonderful night's sleep. JK (Ms. Jennie Kelley) and I had brunch together at the hotel and after, I decided to relax in a bubble bath. JK calls this hotel a “Cinderella moment.” I'll let her explain what that means.
I worked on Rockestra stuff for an hour or two, made phone calls and then took off for an adventure in the city.
I hung out with the seagulls on the rocks at the beach. They didn't take a poop on me, so I consider them friends. I love their ability to hover. After about 30 minutes of beach mediation, I walked around town, exploring all of the unique shops. The options were overwhelming, but I finally found a tapas bar called The Foundation where I enjoyed a $5 sangria and cheeseburger spring rolls.
While waiting on the hotel shuttle at the bus depot, I must have been asked five times if I wanted a ride to “Splenda.” I had no idea what the heck the meant until my shuttle showed up. They were asking if I wanted a ride to “Splendour” — y'know, the festival we were playing and not the sugar substitute. Yep. Idiot alert. I'm in Australia and they have accents, duh! Things like that will happen when you are cracked out from jet lag, travel, etc.
I'll report in more tomorrow. I'm over my word capacity.
Remember: Duck and Cover.
Thank you and goodnight.
Cory Helms, guitarist. At The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Splendour in the Grass Festival:
Despite some personal technical difficulties and scrambling during songs, we had a great show for a great crowd last night at Splendour in the Grass. I lost signal and realized my batteries flew out of my wireless transmitter. Luckily, I found the problem and grabbed a cable in time for the second verse of “Popular.” I had fun getting tangled up in my pedals and the mic stand when running around the stage during “Lithium.” I packed up my stuff that had been totally displaced during our set, then proceeded to watch The National from the side of the stage.
So I'm in Australia's beautiful Byron Bay, staying at The Byron at Byron Resort. #lotsabyron
Some folks went back to the festival, but I wanted to stay in and finally explore the new Logic X recording software that I got right before the trip. I was just relaxing in my luxurious bungalow — or “bangalow” as they are labeled here — watching some Louis CK, catching up on emails, browsing the international news, and eating a dark chocolate Tim Tam when I stumbled upon a questionable headline: “Giant Cock Erected in Trafalgar Square.”
All is right in the world. #iphoneonairplanemode
Jennie Kelley, choir. At Splendour in the Grass Fesitval in Byron Bay, Australia.
Now that's the sign of a good festival. #worldwind#splendourinthegrass #polyspree
Mike St. Claire, trombonist. At The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
It's Sunday night, and we're about to head back to the festival, this time to watch. It's hard to leave this resort that the festival put us up in. It's in the middle of the rainforest on the Australian coast. I can't believe we have two days off here. I think it's a much needed rest for a lot of us. I've gotten so much sleep on all of these flights, though, that it just feels like cake to me. I feel like I'm on vacation. I can't imagine what all that travel would have been like if I hadn't been asleep for most of it. I'm lucky I can sleep anywhere most of the time.
Stephanie Dolph, choir. At The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Australian Adventure Time! First, I have to say, Splendour in the Grass was so good. The organization of music festivals consistently blows my mind!
But let's start from the beginning: First, we land in Sydney with four hours to catch our next short puddle jumper to the Gold Coast. Plenty of time, you say? Well, here is the run down: We got through immigration, baggage claim, customs, terminal transfer, check in to new airline and breeze through security just in time to be the last passengers to board the plane. Well, almost last: Elizabeth and Natalie win that prize. Phew! A short hour later and we are on the ground and being shuttled to the festival grounds. No rest for the weary and better have those face wipes to scrape the travel film off!
We settle into our dressing rooms and get ready for pre-show press. I am feeling pretty good at this point and looking forward to our first event — a photo shoot for Marie Claire's Australian edition. And then? BAM! I'm down. Anyone who knows me would not have been surprised to see me trip and fall, but I could tell right away that this was not going to be a shake-it-off situation, even as I hear myself telling everyone around me that I'm OK. NBD. 😉 Once the shoot was done — literally 10 minutes later — I quietly asked for ice and crossed my fingers that some Advil and TLC would settle my angry ankle down before the Rocky Horror set. Meanwhile, I'm mentally kicking myself for all the jumping around we choreographed for us choir ladies.
After more press and a quick, yummy dinner, it was time to get ready for the show. My ankle was still pissed, reminding me with every step that I wasn't 18 anymore and it could only do so much self-repair after 11 years of “Rockette-ing.” Sigh, more Advil.
I finagled some gauze and gaffe tape into a makeshift brace, threw some Frankenfurter-appropriate black cat eyes on Tim [DeLaughter] backstage, and went out onstage. Once that first note hit, there was no more angry ankle — just a killer group of musicians melting the faces of the oh so gracious and receptive audience at Splendour! Together. we all did the “Time Warp” and then sent Frankenfurter home just in time to surprise them all with some delicious bites of original Spree to end our set!
Fast forward to this morning and I have a big fat ankle and a full heart! I love it here in OZ, but where is my Koala cuddle? I heard you get one for free if you twist your ankle down under.
Jennie Kelley, choir. At The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Paradise found. And after the last four days it was deserved. There's nothing like starting your day off with yoga in the rainforest. #worldwind
The Polyphonic Spree at The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Nick Earl celebrating his 30th in Australia on the 29th. The hotel sent him champagne to help him celebrate.
Jennie Kelley and Natalie Young, choir. The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Life without music would be a mistake.
Elizabeth Evans, choir. The Byron at Byron Resort in Byron Bay, Australia.
Bach [Norwood] with a turkey.
Read more about the band members contributing to these daily dispatches right here.