POLYSICS Are My Valentine

Published on February 16th, 2010 in: Concert Reviews, Music |

By Matt Keeley

The Gramercy Theatre, New York NY
February 13, 2010

After seeing POLYSICS for the first time in 2003, I said this:

POLYSICS are pretty much the best band in the universe. POLYSICS are way better than your favorite band. This holds true even if POLYSICS are your favorite band. They’re JUST THAT GOOD.

hiro by three-six-five project
Hiro in Detroit; February 12, 2010
Photo © Three-Six-Five Project

On the topic of things said before, on the commentary track to Stop Making Sense, David Byrne said that for the perfect aerobics routine, just follow what he does on stage through the entire film.

Both of these statements remain true for POLYSICS, fronted by Hiro Hayashi, the most energetic man in the world. After all, I ended up paying about $350 to see them on February 14, 2010, and it was worth it.

See, this is the last tour with KAYO, the keyboardist, and a major part of the POLYSICS sound—and this is one of the first times in a while they’re doing a tour that didn’t hit Seattle, where I’m from. However, they DID have New York City on their itinerary, and my friend Janet invited me out to see them. So, I did. Admittedly, a lot of the trip was about seeing her, along with my other New York-area friends, but POLYSICS were the catalyst. And a damn good one.

So, the show. The show. The openers were These People, who were OK. They weren’t POLYSICS sure, but at least they didn’t have to go on AFTER them, like at the first POLYSICS show I ever saw. These People were pretty much straight-up Indie Rock, though their hook was that they had two percussionists—a normal drum kit and another guy with a bass drum, congas and a tambourine. Their set was pretty short—about a half-hour—and then came POLYSICS.

Though they’re huge in Japan, POLYSICS are about a mid-level of famous in the US, so Hiro was working the merch table AND the band did their own setup. Also, as POLYSICS are such a DEVO inspired band, it wasn’t a surprise to hear a few DEVO songs in the pre-show music. Near the end of the setup, DEVO’s “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” came on, and while the levels were being set, Hiro started idly playing the guitar part to “Satisfaction” along with the recording.

Next, a cover of “That’s Good” came on (I believe it was the Red Faced version from the We Are Not DEVO tribute record from about ten years ago). Again Hiro was playing along with it, but bassist Fumi would occasionally do a bit of the bass riff. Near the end of the song, pretty much all the levels had been checked individually, so to make sure everything meshed, the entire band bashed out a verse or so of “That’s Good.” And it was.

As they departed to get ready for the actual show, “Take On Me” came on, and the entire crowd sang along, including Hiro and Fumi during the hook. It was a perfect beginning to a great show by an incredibly good-natured band, and what turned out to be a wonderfully good-natured crowd.

So, the atmosphere of good will being established, the show started in earnest. I suppose I should have kept notes on what they played and what the order was, but that would have involved not thrashing about spasmodically in my seat. You can see the kind of bind I was in.

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2 Responses to “POLYSICS Are My Valentine”

  1. Marwan:
    March 17th, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I was there in the crowd bouncing everywhere! That was awesome. I took a 3000 km flight from Canada to watch them before the hiatus (and in the same time spend good times in one of the most beautiful city of the world with Paris and London). Good review, brings back memories, thank you.

  2. Popshifter » TITLE?? Q&A With Hiro Hayashi Of POLYSICS:
    March 30th, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    […] As I mentioned a few weeks ago on the Popshifter Blog, POLYSICS are the best band in the universe. […]

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