Last Monday I saw Polysics and Do Make Say Think perform on the same night. Polysics was opening the MySpace Music Tour at the Rave, and while there were reports of heads exploding at their live shows, I saw nothing of the sort.
I did see and hear a lot of bad-assity going on. Wearing orange jumpsuits and rectangular shades, Polysics barraged the audience with the kind of old-school energy that could only be channeled direct from David Lee Roth. It was theatrical yet fun, and the group headbanged and did rockstar poses with impunity. They don’t really speak English, but the lead singer was great at saying, “Hello Milwaukee! We’re Polysics from Tokyo, Japan!!!” while windmilling his guitar.
It’s a shame that they were opening that tour — they deserve their own orange-colored jet with black windows flying them around shows, or maybe a performance in the middle of the ocean. Or, at the very least, their own cartoon series on Adult Swim.
While the Rave was being overrun by emo teenagers, I headed over to Stonefly in Riverwest, where part of my favorite band in the world was performing. Members of Do Make Say Think are in the Toronto collective Broken Social Scene, and aside from being a fan of all the side projects (Feist, Metric, Kevin Drew and DMST), I also love seeing how individual members of BSS create work outside of the band that made them famous, and how their creative processes carve totally different paths.
The seven-piece seemed a little crowded on the Stonefly stage, but the melodies and movements of “You, You’re a History in Rust” shone through. That same night, Bright Eyes was playing at the Pabst, but there was still a decent crowd. Head honcho Charles Spearin said the last time he was in MIlwaukee was nine years ago; “a lot has changed since then.” I think he was referring to how much cooler Milwaukee is now. Every time I listen to a DMST song, I try to guess how many musical layers are in the song and what instruments they used — it’s a little game I play with myself. So it was really interesting to see a band who makes such powerful and yet delicate songs work everything out live.
The cigarette smoke in the bar was a little tortuous, though. I chatted a bit with Amit Dahan, their tour manager. He mentioned that the smoke inside the venue was difficult for members of the band as well. While talking I realized he was the guy who had written an awesome series on touring with BSS and DMST last year. He also helped me take photos of the band, which was great, because I only had a gigantic lens from photographing Polysics at a bigger venue.
It was evident that DMST is a musician’s band; I saw members of Collections of Colonies of Bees at the show, as well as members of Brief Candles.