Poliça Storm the Biltmore Cabaret

photo by Graham Tolbert

Wow! Wow, wow, wow – those are pretty much the best words to describe Thursday night’s show at the Biltmore. Review done!  Okay, I’ll share a little more but I must say that Poliça and guests Supreme Cuts was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. And, I’m pretty sure the crowd at the Biltmore would agree.

The night began with Chicago’s Supreme Cuts, an electronic duo who use elements of R&B, post-rock, noise and hip-hop to create a magical storm of rhythm. Mike Perry and Austin Kjeultes are the dudes behind the tunes. In June of this year, Supreme Cuts released their debut full-length album, Whispers in the Dark, then hit the road to promote their creation.

Let me tell you, the boys know how to put on a show – sweatin’ up a storm in the steamy cabaret as they thrash on their drum pads, jumpin’, dancin’ and mixin’ tracks that had the crowd flocking to the front of the stage. The pair draws inspiration from some of their favourites like Godspeed You…! and Three 6 Mafia because rap and hip-hop have been an obsession since childhood. Their music last night was easy to get into with thundering bass drops punctuating trippy dream-like vocal samples. “Val Venus” is a fantastic example of this but I also loved when “E2”started up with its plucky water drops and snap-happy beats. All in all, a terrific set that got the throng sufficiently riled up for Poliça.

Now what to say about Poliça… umm the word amazeballs comes to mind! Vancouver was the first stop on their current tour to promote Give You The Ghost, the group’s premiere album. They launched their set with the amazing “Lay Your Cards Out” and the hits just kept coming.

Incredibly, this group has only been playing together since last year but have quickly found success and have received much acclaim from some of the music industry’s top publications, like Rolling Stone. To be fair, all the members have been a part of different bands at some point in time, which is why their accomplished musicianship should be no surprise. Channy Leaneagh is at the helm on stage and is wonderfully supported by the incomparable dueling drums of Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson and the supremely talented Chris Bierdan on bass.

Praise must also be given to Ryan Olson of Gayngs, who may not be on stage, but he co-wrote and produced the songs for Poliça. In fact, that’s how it all began, Olson wanted Leaneagh to tour with his band, after that they began work on her project and thus a star was born.

Poliça’s music is electro-percussive with hints of R&B and a lingering, dreamy vocal track. In every song Leaneagh’s voice is transformed by auto-tune and no, not the cheesy auto-tune overly used in pop songs but a delicate, bewitching electronic morphing of Leaneagh’s already beautiful, soul-searing vocals. During shows, Leaneagh treats her voice like an instrument using different effect pedals to alter her sound; the result is captivating! In “The Maker” the haunting, silky vibe drenches you in some kinda sadness as Leaneagh sings “oh my god why won’t you hold me… he won’t love me like that”. The trumpeted up-tempo “Dark Star” is another delightful number that the masses were really diggin’. Really, the crowd and I were eating it all up; the hour set flew by and left us begging for more. I left the club so impressed, with expectations far, far surpassed. They deserve every bit of the praise they’ve been getting and if I had to take a guess, the next time they are in Vancouver, Poliça will need a much, much larger venue.

I highly encourage you to check out both of these fantastic groups online and if you are somewhere along their tour route, do not hesitate – go see them!!!