After months of blogosphere buzz and an official approval from Jay-Z, Eau Claire fans were finally given a taste of Minneapolis’ newest musical export, Poliça, as they hit the House of Rock with Marijuana Deathsquads on January 11th.

And their visit certainly didn’t go unappreciated – this place was packed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the tiny venue so full of fans, eager to check out the next big thing. Marijuana Deathsquads played first, forgoing the stage – with the exception of drummers Joe Westerlund (Megafaun) and Ben Ivascu (Poliça) -  instead setting up their piles of electronic gadgetry on a table on the floor, circled by fans, in true house party fashion. They played intense experimental noise/dance music – thick, sludgy, druggy beeps and bloops, with propulsive beats holding all the improvisational noise tangents together. They brought tons of energy to the floor, frenyzing the crowd with their technical wizardry.

Soon after, Poliça took to the stage, and proved that they can certainly live up to the ultra-hype. They dialed the energy levels down a bit, switching the mood from spastic to sultry, pretty much playing straight through their soon-to-be-released debut album, Give You The Ghost. Drummers Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson, along with bassist Chris Bierdan, laid down sparse, smooth grooves, while singer Channy Casselle’s ethereal autotuned voice gave the songs a mysterious edge, hypnotically reverberating around the room. It’s easy to draw comparisons between Poliça and Portishead – both are heavily rhythm oriented bands with powerful female vocalists – but to do so would be selling Poliça short. Their sound is super fresh, and they put on an incredible live show. Expect to see huge things from Poliça in the months to come.

-Mitch Gustafson

Photographs by Zachary Oliphant