Story by: Colin Hudson
Photos by: Karney Hatch
After a cloudy week, the sky opened up and the Portland heat turned on for The Polish Ambassador’s arrival earlier this month. To say the people of Oregon love their dose of TPA is a bit of an understatement. The first weekend of June is always jam-packed for this city’s annual Rose Parade festivities, but this show was the hottest ticket in town. Tickets sold out in advance, packing an audience decked out in their onesies guaranteeing a hot, sweaty and nasty (in a good way, of course) dance party.
Inside, smells of patchouli and sage as well as sets by both Dirtwire and Desert Dwellers created a relaxed yet exciting environment for those immediately ready to groove. As the Desert Dwellers ended, Mark Lakeman took the stage to give a presentation on the Village Building Convergence, in which this show was helping promote. The VBC is an annual communal event that builds public spaces through permaculture design and ecological construction.
Once the presentation came to an end and Lakeman had gained enthusiasm through the crowd, the noise went still and a guy named Poet Pistachio greeted everyone and gave the most proper introduction filled with witty rhymes and a sweet cape. Alas, The Polish Ambassador along with his entrusted visual extraordinaire, Liminus started dancing as soon as the first note dropped. This note began a set mainly revolved around the smooth dub, hip-hop, and tribal drums that encompassed much of his latest two albums.
The Polish Ambassador started off with a slow moving, bass heavy beat that shortly fed into Sean Haefeli’s soulful voice on “Wait for the One That’s Special” from 2014’s Pushing Through the Pavement. This song lead into a smashing arrangement of bongo drums, bass drums, and electric snare drums as one of Polish’s diplomats entered from back stage and led the crowd in a dance. The energy eventually slowed down and Ecozoic’s euphoric anthem “Heartbeat Amplifier” and was quickly brought back up with a vibrant remix one of the 80s most recognizable tunes, “Take On Me.”
Once the Polish Ambassador left the stage and the crowd was someone settled, Poet Pistachio made his presence known once again. Lines like “a bottle without a genie is like a hotdog bun without a weanie” didn’t make a whole lot of sense but still garnered plenty of cheers.
They grew louder when he finished with “Are you ready to live a little bit more? Are you ready for an encore?” Polish then erupted from back stage and whipped out his recently released remix of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and the room fell right back into the 1980’s.
At this point in his music making, The Polish Ambassador’s songs are no longer the glitch dominating hyper electronica his name was associated after the first couple albums. They aren’t gone completely, yet act as atmospheric melodies and subtle backdrops that fall behind songs built by powerful vocals and live instruments driven by constant bass lines.
Music is a journey, and whether it be a 90-minute set or the course of several albums, The Polish Ambassador will guide you.
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