Dream, Ivory at Polaris Hall

Written by on June 14, 2022

My friend told me she was going to a show by a group called Dream, Ivory, urging me to buy myself a ticket and accompany her. Initially, I assumed there had been some technical glitch or missed input in the ticket website, and that the group was called Ivory Dream, having been switched around by the algorithm in a misguided attempt to categorize the listing. After looking up the band, I found out that they were in fact called Dream, Ivory and that they would be at Polaris Hall in Portland in just three days. I ummed and ahhed about whether to go. I had never heard of this group and it might be awkward. I had no clue of the fanbase or even what type of music it was. I also had a doctor’s appointment in the meantime and was too stressed about that to stress about anything else. Eventually, I decided to live my life and buy the damn (cheap) ticket with no clue of where Polaris Hall is, or how car-less old me would get there. 

Fortunately, I live a mere fifteen minute walk from the venue (though I did angle myself a ride). Polaris is located right below Portland Community College and has the appearance of an old brick house. Assumedly, it was somebody’s home at one point, though by now it has been retrofitted with a stage, bar and public bathrooms. There were about twenty to twenty-five people at the venue by the time we had arrived, and I felt as though, at the age of 22, I may have been one of the older people there. A suspicion I investigated by looking at my fellow concert-goers’ wrists, noting that many did not seem to have the wristband given to them at the door if they were to be allowed to purchase alcohol. Fortunately, I did not recognize anyone from the number of high schools I have worked at, as that may have been slightly awkward and untoward. 

Worried that we were late, my party and I were relieved to see the stage empty as we arrived. The concert-goers were dancing along to a pre-recorded tape. This was an unintelligible vocal over harsh heavy metal guitar sounds. We soon realized the audience had formed a semi-circle, backed by the stage, around one particular person. As it turns out, the vocals of this music were not pre-recorded, and the singer was bouncing around the audience with us. I looked to my companion and attempted to say “Is this them?”, though the blaring speakers prohibited my attempts at vocalization from mattering. This music was harsher and more raucous than the three Dream, Ivory songs I had streamed on Spotify the day before. As this act went on, the audience got more and more rambunctious and willing to participate in the dancing. My friend even joined the mosh pit and began hurling herself at people. I just filmed. Soon people outside of the mosh pit began throwing themselves at each other and I decided to travel to the basement to use the bathroom. When I returned things were calmer and we were back to swaying or just standing awkwardly. Having some regret and not joining the more violent dancing, I swayed in the direction of my friend, attempting to knock her around. She reciprocated in kind and the nudges got progressively more violent until I staggered a little bit and decided to use the bathroom again.

The music of this first act was actually very good. The low quality sound was filled with character and energy. The vocals, though unintelligible, were filled with emotion and a nasal power to it all. The audience seemed to enjoy it. I appreciated that the singer was on the floor with us. It’s something I’ve never really seen done and I found it brought a unique energy. Spending time with a younger audience was a fun experience for me. Most of the bands I go see were big in the 70s and 80s, so usually when I go it’s just me, Karen, Deborah, Ruth and the gang. Here I was with a group that I had not spent time with. There were mid-parted haircuts, everyone had a cute outfit, and everytime I looked over at someone’s phone, their battery was about to die. However, I was very appreciative of the youthful energy and lust for life I was in the presence of.

After half an hour, the opening act, P.H.F., left the stage and joined the crowd, waiting for Dream, Ivory. My friend then informed me that also in the crowd were Dream, Ivory themselves. When she pointed them out, I realized I had almost walked into one of them earlier coming out of the bathroom. As I replayed that interaction in my head (them: sorry, me: that’s alright), my friend took a picture and got a sweatshirt signed. 

Another half hour passed before the band took to the stage. They seemed genuinely excited and even pleasantly shocked to be out here performing. They seemed genuinely grateful and thanked the audience for coming. Their songs sounded like descendents of the Cocteau Twins and the Cure. Gentle, lucious and heavily filtered and warped. The two brothers that make up the duo also thanked their drummer for accompanying them. Other than the three songs from a newly announced upcoming album, the crowd seemed to respond to the songs played, my friend screaming every time the upcoming song’s title was mentioned which did put a smile on my face. There was no moshing, as the more gentle music didn’t call for it. Instead, the audience was locked in a calm sway for the half an hour the show lasted. After this, the band rejoined the audience, thanking everyone as they walked out.

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