To quote the announcer at the Polysics show on February 14th in Cambridge, Polysics sound is what happened, "when a condom broke while new wave and electro-rock were hanging out."
Wearing orange jumpsuits and futuristic superhero shades, they appeared on the stage of the tiny venue - The Middle East. Their presentation was peppered by lead singer Hiro's occasional comments about it being Valentine's Day: "I have on special underwear today! Do you want to see? Do you? Do you? Maybe later..."
By the end of the show, I couldn't really tell if I was soaking in my own sweat or if it was Hiro's. I hadn't seen such energy in a frontman in a while, and this came as a refreshing surprise. I was so close to the action on stage that at any point I could've easily messed with his guitar's controls, and I'm positive that every person standing within eight feet from the stage was at least once reached by drops of water from the bottles he had with him on stage.
For those who aren't familiar, Polysics is a band from Japan. They have been together for more than 10 years now. Appreciators of newer groups like Bloc Party and Cansei de Ser Sexy, their music also has influences ranging from Devo (one of the bands that first inspired Hiroyuki Hayashi [Hiro] to make a group of his own), the B-52s, the Talking Heads to The Knack and The Ramones.
I have certainly heard about the liveliness and vigor that usually accompany Polysics' shows; in both large and small venues, their antics have impressed audiences all over the world, and this show was no exception. There were, in fact, aspects that made it an even more exciting show. The upstairs at The Middle East has a maximum capacity of less than 200 people, and that only augmented the effect of the band's music on their fans. Also, the two-month North American tour is the last opportunity for fans to see synthesizer/guitarist/vocalist Kayo, who has played a very significant role in Polysics' success and creative accomplishments.
However, the show's opening act, With Engines, helped the crowd conserve their energy for the main event. While they seem to have good chemistry as a band, they were lacking in energy. Perhaps this was due to their all-acoustic set, as their lead singer said more than once it's not they way they play other shows. Whether just out of sorts or out of their element, when Polysics finally took the stage, the public was more than ready to give it their all - so maybe we can thank With Engines for that.
Check out the band online: www.myspace.com/polysicsna
Polysics set list:
Young OH! OH!
Peach Pie on the Beach
New Wave Jacket
I Me My Mine
Kaja Kaja Goo
Coelakanth is Android
Electric Surfin' GO GO