Polyphonic Spree, with David Bowie

This gleefully psychotic twentysomething ensemble of robe-clad weirdos includes a spastic choir, a full horn ensemble and a harpist who looks like a Dazed and Confused extra. The most appropriate three words to describe this: Jesus Christ Superstar, in which Jesus is not crucified, but rather pumped full of LSD and forced to roadie for the Flaming Lips.

Let's join in for the chorus: "The sun machine is coming down / And we're gonna have a party!"

All right, look. The wholesale termination of dour, joyless indie rockers remains one of my holiest crusades, but this is ridiculous. At a California show on this tour, the Spree bombarded early stragglers with absurdly giddy psychedelic rock anthems, and huge stupefied grins slowly spread o'er the crowd. But the joy felt oddly forced and vaguely menacing, and like the beloved Lips, front man and spiritual guru Tim DeLaughter seems cut from this strange cloth of stoners who've ingested so many chemicals they've burst through to this alternate universe of Teletubbies-grade kiddie euphoria: a delightful place to visit and a terrifying place to be trapped for more than, say, a half-hour.

Jesus. There's a war on, people. As Bowie himself announced from the stage an hour or so later: "If they offer you any Kool-Aid, don't drink it."

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Rob Harvilla
Contact: Rob Harvilla