In this environment of musical over-saturation, and after many years of heavy concert-going, it has become a (maybe) sad truth that it’s now quite difficult for me to be truly interested or impressed with a live performance. A band has to possess a truly distinguishing factor. An element of surprise, if you will, in the live show. Just something freaking different, please. Poliça fit that bill, and proved it Monday night at Terminal West.
On-stage, you see two drummers, a bassist, and vocalist. A curious line-up, one would think. Okay. I’m interested. The attentive viewer will find hidden off-stage near the sound booth, one Ryan Olsen, who, contrary to his lack of visibility, is arguably the most important member of the group. Founding the band in 2011 with vocalist Channy Leaneagh, Olsen is responsible for everything you’re hearing outside of the bass and drums (obviously), and also handles the majority of the distortion on Leaneagh’s vocals.
The dual-drummers and heavy bass make for a deep, full-body experience and, along with the overwhelming use of red lighting, the “brutal” feel that it seems the band are embracing translates perfectly to the live show. Leaneagh’s presence and delivery are naturally what draw your eye, but her vocals almost swirl around you like a specter, while the music itself crawls in and makes itself a cozy home inside your gut, creating an experience that is much more than visual.
Leaneagh explained in an interview with Vice that she’s actually a very introverted person, saying,”That show, that performance is the most extroverted performance I will do all day.”
Her stage presence wouldn’t exactly suggest an introverted personality, as she certainly doesn’t reserve any emotion, but you can tell it’s more of an internal episode than an act adopted purely for performance or entertainment. You can feel the pain in the songs without even distinguishing the lyrics, which happen to all be depressing as hell.
So there you have it. Thank you, Poliça. Your show was something different. Something that made an impact. Something with purpose, honesty, and distinction.