Caroline Polachek : The Anthem

Caroline Polachek is unlike any other pop star I have seen or heard before. She’s an opera-trained singer with vocal talents so unique there were times during her performance when it was hard to distinguish her instrument from a soaring birdsong, a howling wild animal, or even a taut guitar solo. Her vocal range spans three octaves and her ability to “flip” between two registers with control, power, and special effects, is a bit unreal.

She’s also a songwriter, producer, performer, director, and a visual artist. To call her gifted might be an understatement. As Jia Tolentino put it, a writer for The New Yorker, “Polachek has a trickster’s interest in creative manipulation: she is both the magician and the woman stepping into the box… she has a future-facing sonic playfulness at a time when many younger pop stars—Lorde, Billie Eilish, Clairo—have gone retro.”

Polachek’s debut, at The Anthem, in DC, supporting the release of her second solo album, Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, gave us a glimpse into Caroline’s world and welcomed the sold-out crowd to her own special island. It was a spellbinding performance of experimental pop, dance, drama, and song that mesmerized the audience. As the backdrop projections morphed from modern shapes to a fiery volcano, she moved across the stage with undulating body movements and hand gestures. This wasn’t just another concert, it was performance art.  

I am my father’s daughter in the end
He says, “Watch your ego, watch your head, girl
You’re so smart, so talented
But now the water’s turning red
And it’s all your fault and it’s all your mess

“Welcome to my Island”

The audience was captivated, singing, dancing, and swaying to the rhythms. At one point, fans were waving their arms and hands in the air, mimicking Polachek, in unison. It was a magical evening.

You may still be able to catch her on the remaining 2023 tour dates, but it may require some travel. https://www.carolinepolachek.com She’s playing festivals overseas and a few more back in the states. Catch her if you can!

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

Damaged City Festival 2019 | Photos | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

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