Polica steals the night!
Walking through crunchy snow on the way to High Noon last Friday night, FRZN Fest seemed appropriately frozen. The first night of the inaugural Madison music festival showcased five indie groups, three of which were fronted by sassy female vocalists. And one of these – Polica – stole the show.
The first band on the bill, Squarewave, was an adequate indie rock band for an opening slot. Too bad they were upstaged immediately by the phenomenally entertaining Polica. Polica’s mesmerizing sound demanded the audience’s attention. I know I wasn’t the only person who formed a girlcrush while watching the entrancing Channy Leaneagh (Casselle) perform on stage. Polica’s seemingly overnight rise to indie blog fame stems from their connection to the Bon Iver clan of bands, notably the collaboration known as Gayngs. Fans of Gayngs should be pleased with Polica’s sound, like a hybrid of Phantogram and Bon Iver. One thing was clear: Polica set the bar high for the evening.
The crowd reached its peak during the next set, Class Actress. Lead singer Elizabeth Harper ushered in a flashback with her teased hair, oversized blazer, and trench coat. The crowd enjoyed her synth sound, and a 90s dance party ensued. It was a good set, yes, but Elizabeth’s stage presence seemed lackluster following Channy.
Dom was up next, proving that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The boys in the band were looking tough, but the speakers pumped out fun, pop-flavored indie rock. I guess the lead singer’s pink paisley guitar could’ve given that away.
Chairlift closed out the first night of FRZN Fest to an unfortunately thinned out crowd. Oddly, lead singer Caroline Polachek also donned shorter dark hair & a trench coat, just like Class Actress’ Harper. Those unfamiliar with Chairlift were bound to at least recognize their song “Bruises,” which was featured in an iPod commercial a couple years ago. Chairlift was a warm ending to a FRZN night. Was that too cheesy? Yeah. Suffice it to say FRZN Fest was a success, and I’m looking forward to the next time Polica is in town.