The Polyrhythmics are coming to town, and you might want to listen to what they have to play.
It's a mix of music perhaps best described as afrobeat and funk, said Nathan Spicer, keyboardist for the Seattle-based band.
That translates into a sound that could be compared to Paul Simon's album Graceland, with one huge distinction.
"Graceland is a wonderful album," Spicer said. "The main difference between (Graceland) and what we do is we only play instrumental music. That's right! No singer. We rely on complex, tight arrangements to hold the attention of our audiences, along with a thick, soupy groove that makes people wanna dance."
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The Polyrhythmics play Aug. 28 at the Emerald of Siam in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland. Music starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $5.
This will be the first time the Polyrhythmics have visited the Tri-Cities. The eight-piece group has been playing together for about three years, performing mostly along the I-5 corridor from Seattle to California. They decided to break from the beaten path and head east into Idaho toward Boise and Sun Valley on their summer tour.
Emerald of Siam proprietor Dara Quinn played a key role in the band's decision to make a stopover in Tri-Cities.
"When we booked this tour, we knew there was an opportunity to play in a relatively big market (the Tri-Cities) that is often neglected by other traveling bands," Spicer said. "Lucky for us, we know Dara from when she lived in Seattle and played with her band Rockin' Teenage Combo and she was able to accommodate us."
Besides Spicer, the Polyrhythmics are made up of Ben Bloom on guitar, Grand Schroff on drums, Jason Gray on bass, Lalo Bello on percussion, Scott Morning on trumpet, Art Brown on sax and flute and Elijah Clark on trombone.
"As far jobs go, most of us are professional musicians, playing in a number of different bands, doing session work for other artists, and music education," Spicer said. "I also teach piano at the Seattle Drum School. One of the most difficult things about trying to bring our music to as many people as we can up and down the West Coast is balancing our tour schedule with all that other stuff.
"If it weren't for modern technology like smartphones and laptops, none of us would be able to keep doing what we do -- work, other gigs, relationships. But we love what we do."
Spicer said the band's music has been called '70s action car chase music, simply because that's what it sounds like.
"It's not funk. It's not jazz. It's not afrobeat. It's all those things, and yet it's none of those things," he said. "Yet when I hear it, I can't help but imagine a '75 El Camino bombing over the hills of San Francisco getting chased by those old-school lookin' black and whites (cop cars) with bare tires crashing into fruit carts."
And if that kind of description has you scratching your head wondering what that sounds like, then hanging out at the Emerald of Siam might be worth the trip.
Spicer also credits Quinn with making the Tri-Cities a hot spot for music by luring big-time Seattle bands here.
"Because of her experience, she is able to reach out to really great bands like Yogoman Burning Band, who recently performed at the Emerald of Siam," Spicer said. "Yogoman? In Richland? They pack huge rooms in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, so something is definitely starting to take root in Richland."
* Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com