Most of the audience at the Soiled Dove was there to see the Polyphonic Spree and didn't know much about opener Sarah Jaffe. Matt Arrington of Fort Collins was one such person. "I never saw Sarah perform before, but I was here for her warm-up, and it sounded amazing!"
The show opened with Denver's Magic Cyclops. He started the night off right with a song about teen pregnancy: "He takes you to the local Dairy Queen and now he wants to get in your jeans." Magic gave a bizarre but amazing tribute to Neil Diamond with his version of "Sweet Caroline," and with "Heartlight," which he performed with an ET doll.
By Gina Tron
Before Jaffe's performance, Evan Weiss, who plays trumpet with the Polyphonic Spree, sat next to us. He also played trumpet on Jaffe's most recent album, The Body Wins. Both artists are from Dallas. "It's interesting that she opens for us, because in many of the cities we toured to, Sarah was just as famous -- if not more -- than Polyphonic," he said.
Weiss also mentioned that because Warped Tour is going on, the Polyphonic Spree was unable to get a modern tour bus, and they ended up with a very janky one. The bus was so old that it actually caught fire at one point in the tour. Jaffe and her crew were touring in a separate vehicle. One that didn't catch fire.
In ripped-up jeans, red lipstick and slicked-back platinum-blonde hair, Jaffe demonstrated why peple around the country are getting to know her. Her voice is astounding. It sounded like a recording -- a perfectly produced track. Not only was her voice breathtaking, but also she played both guitar and bass flawlessly. Even the biggest grouch would have had trouble finding something to hate about her. NPR has described her as having "the ability to relate to people's daily lives and the wisdom to express emotions in new and powerful ways." Her live lyrics reflected this:
"Most people ask for honesty. Most people don't like the truth."
"I'm always on the defense. Guess it's just my reflex."
Her lyrics are raw and relatable, and her voice lures the listener in to be able to listen to them. She kept telling the audience to give her good vibes, and she returned them many times over. Despite the fact that many in the audience didn't know who Jaffe was prior to the show, loud applause erupted after she finished. The general consensus seemed to be awe.
The Polyphonic Spree -- fronted by the charismatic Tim DeLaughter -- played afterwards. The headlining band was, as expected, uplifting and colorful. The nearly fifteen-person musical ensemble featured men in long sleeve bell shirts and women in tie dye dresses.
The merch table for the three performances was atypically interesting. You could even buy a pregnancy test courtesy of Magic Cyclops. Sarah Jaffe was selling a few bright shirts, which she drew herself. While standing under one of them, she told Westword how much she has been enjyoing this tour. She brought so much talent and spirit, which made the night unbelievably energetic and entertaining.
Sarah Jaffe's newest album, Don't Disconnect, will be available August 19.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.