REVIEW — Caroline Polachek Delivered Spellbinding Performance at Mission Ballroom

303 Music, Denver Music, Concert Review, Caroline Polachek, Alex G, Indigo De Souza, Jas Kitterman, Christian Garcia, The Spirling Tour, Welcome to My Island, Mission Ballroom

Sunday night, avant-pop artist Caroline Polachek delivered a spellbinding performance to an engaged Mission Ballroom. Backlighting, 3-piece band and soaring vocals allowed the singer to shape-shift between song, genre and dance. In support of her second solo album, Desire, I Want to Turn Into YouThe Spirling Tour allured fans into her island for a night full of dance, drama, and experimental ambiance for one magical occasion.

READ: Review — Caroline Polachek Cast A Spell on Bluebird Theater
303 Music, Denver Music, Concert Review, Caroline Polachek, Alex G, Indigo De Souza, Jas Kitterman, Christian Garcia, The Spirling Tour, Welcome to My Island, Mission BallroomThe night began with a bang as Indigo De Souza belted out confessional lyrics over smashing drums and guitar riffs. The Brazilian-American singer/songwriter was accompanied by a 4-piece band including an electric violin, drums and two guitars. Together they were welcomed by a gracious and eager Denver crowd. Those who did not know of the band were in for a treat while those who sang along were already in on the best-kept secret that is Indigo De Souza. After a quick 30-minute set, Alex G jumped on stage, ready to rock the night.
In an edgier twist, the indie/alternative artist showcased his D.I.Y. ethos mixed with a pop familiarity bringing fans to a jeer. Even when screaming into a mic with delay effects, Alex G captivated the crowd making a lasting impression for time to come.

To open the set, Caroline belted alongside an epic electric guitar to welcome the crowd to her jungle on the poptastic “Welcome to My Island.” Smoke filled the stage with a volcano along an orange hue in the background creating an enchanting stage presence. Fans chanted along with fists in the air as they screamed the  background lyrics, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!”. The feel-good rhythms kept a float with fans waving their hands to “Pretty Impossible” while the emotionally unavailable anthem “Bunny is A Rider” had fans dancing along. The tune was named best song of 2021 by Pitchfork and has become a staple in the singer’s repertoire.

303 Music, Denver Music, Concert Review, Caroline Polachek, Alex G, Indigo De Souza, Jas Kitterman, Christian Garcia, The Spirling Tour, Welcome to My Island, Mission BallroomWhile uncovering the world of Caroline, Mission Ballroom ended up where it began as the singer turned the synth-driven, “Ocean of Tears” into an indie/alternative rock song. Adding her personal touch, the singer sent high notes soaring through the ballroom. Crashing drums, flashing lights and high-flying vocals left the audience awe-struck at the performance. Before anyone could catch their breath, the opening vocals of “I Believe” began as the crowd went into a frenzy.

Caroline skipped around the stage, hair blowing in the wind with a cropped t-shirt that stated,”Everything we want will require unfathomable violence.” The singer ended the song screaming and adding vocal embellishments that felt both cathartic and necessary for a song titled “I Believe,” where she explores immortality.

As the show progressed, every song felt like its own stop on an adventure across an island. Lighting, choreography and vocal embellishments were meticulously planned before reaching an audience. From how the singer twirled to the hand choreography and the fan interactions, the performance came together for a perfect show. No beat was missed, no high note was too high and no hair flip was out of place as Caroline’s stage presence grew stronger and stronger.

For example, on “Billions” the singer brought the crowd together, ending the song with fans’ hands waving in the air in unison. On “Smoke,” fans danced and sang along while Caroline pranced on stage, floating between the rocks and smoky volcano. For the song’s finale, the singer dropped to her knees, screeching at the top of her lungs as if she was falling down the volcano.

303 Music, Denver Music, Concert Review, Caroline Polachek, Alex G, Indigo De Souza, Jas Kitterman, Christian Garcia, The Spirling Tour, Welcome to My Island, Mission Ballroom

From top to bottom, “The Spirling Tour” proved to be an electrifying show. The energy was abundant due to the irresistible and pitch-perfect voice of Caroline Polachek. The singer explored many genres and versions of herself on stage for the crowd to look upon, reminding fans that no version is the same, yet still something to be proud of.

For one last hoorah, bandmates and Caroline performed “Door” during the encore. Before they could even begin, Denver gave a standing ovation reassuring the singer of her great performance. The show ended on a somber note as fans swayed with their phone lights in the air and even a teardrop or two could be spotted on cheeks around the bllroom. Whether those tears were due to the song or the show’s end, they will be held with great memory, fondness and appreciation for the artist’s exploration of self. On Sunday night, Caroline Polachek welcomed Denver into her magical world for a spellbinding performance.

All photography by Jas Kitterman

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