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It was a Sunday night of crazy/awkward dancing, brilliantly written lyrics, retro-pop tunes and heartbreak at the Zebulon when Ryan Pollie played the final leg of his seven-stop tour. The tour was in support of his “Stars” album, which was released in December.
Pollie’s set opened with the sounds of rainfall and tropical birds coming through Zebulon’s speakers. With hand waves, Pollie and his backing band came onstage and kicked it off with the jubilant “On The Nose.” The song ended with some wild dancing on the part of Pollie. Elvis Presley would not have been impressed, but the audience throughout the set requested an encore of those akimbo dance moves. Those requests were unfortunately denied. The second song had to have some in the crowd shedding a few tears. The reflective album closer “Market” has the chorus: “It seems my mind is gone/ to find my future son/ to tell me I was wrong/ to let her fly right out the window/ And I could disagree/ she’d never marry me/ since you were never born/ I let you walk out in the rain.”
A rocking cover of Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” had Pollie joking that he wasn’t obsessed with making love and that people should feel comfortable coming up to him after the set ended. The night ended with “Don’t Lie.” Though the song opens with, “Things would be better if you were without me,” the audience most definitely felt differently.
Mara Connor started the night. Like Pollie, Connor’s well-crafted lyrics take you through the hits and misses, and starts and stops, of romance. Her song “Something More” is about a depressing night at Zebulon. “Baby Come Over” is what her friends call the “booty call” song. “Wildfire” is a prediction of an end before it comes about, “If you’re a wildfire, I’m a wildflower/ And I’m ready to face the heat… When it’s all over/ scatter our ashes like stone into sand/ Millions of memories/ reduced to a dust dancing in the wind.”
After Connor, Spencer Hoffman (of Honyock), who released his solo EP “A Flower From Behind” earlier this year, took the stage with a full band. “Last time I played Zebulon was in 2019,” he said. “I’ve waited three years to play here again.” He took full advantage of the opportunity with his folk-rock tunes. His hand taps to the heart spoke volumes.
After the night ended, Connor had this to say: “Ryan Pollie is a true artist and one of those people who creates community wherever he goes. It’s such a pleasure playing with talented musicians like Ryan and Spencer at a stellar venue like Zebulon.”
Ryan Pollie’s setlist: On The Nose, Market, The Thing, Feel Like Making Love (Bad Company cover), Spine, Raincoat, Don’t Lie.
Photos/recap by Notes From Vivace