It's official, don't miss the Poppy Family Experience

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      The Poppy Family Experience opened the doors on its last practice before Khatsahlano at a packed and sweltering Fox Theatre last night (July 9). Despite the insane heat, some sound issues, and an understandable tentativeness around some of the songs—there was a couple swings at “Happy Island” before they nailed it—you folks should know that Saturday’s show is going to be something special.

      First and foremost, they still have THE VOICE. When he spoke to us for this week’s cover story, New Pornographers bassist John Collins told the Straight with no small sense of wonder that Susan Jacks had tweaked everybody’s eardrums with a high C-sharp during practice. “She’s still got it,” he said, and he’s not blowing smoke.

      Then again, everybody’s still got it. Switching between guitar and sitar, original Poppy Craig McCaw looked a little nervous, and he complained later about missing one or two changes (pshaw!), but it was clear from the opening bars of “Beyond the Clouds” that this stuff is still internal to him, even 45 years later. Ditto for Singh, sitting behind his tablas at the front of the stage for most of the set and looking and sounding right at home the whole time.

      As for the new Poppy kids,  Collins, Dahle, Wells, Bois and Webber—along with Jacks’ veteran collaborators Mary Saxton (vocals) and guitarist Dave Sinclair (beaming broadly throughout)—they’ve set their sights on the most faithful recreation of the Family album they can muster. Bois in particular is filling in a lot of the gaps on keys, but the great achievement here is the way the Poppy Family Experience nails the remarkably delicate work of studio people who were at the top of their game when that really meant something.

      The elf standing next to me all night was a little disappointed that there’s was no “Moonlight”, but with a set that includes “Free From the City”, “Good Friends”, “Where Evil Grows”, “There’s no Blood in Bone”, and “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?”—and a lot more besides—none of us are in any position to complain. Other than that, I couldn’t help but feel that this whole enterprise has the kind of turbocharged awesomeness you’d usually find in, I dunno, Brooklyn. Don’t miss it.


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      john varner

      Jul 10, 2014 at 11:41pm

      Please bring your Happy Island to the Big Island of Hawaii. Lots of Aloha awaits you!

      i can't wai

      Jul 11, 2014 at 12:20am

      Crowds and bathroom breaks be damned

      Mike Silva

      Jul 11, 2014 at 6:44pm

      Please come to New England :)

      Brandy Gallagher

      Jul 13, 2014 at 9:07pm

      Been listening since I was a kid when The Poppy Family lived with my family at Brandywine Falls through the 60's!

      Julie Gallagher

      Nov 29, 2014 at 9:06am

      Susan and Terry used to visit, not live, at Brandywine Falls in the 1960"s. I had some great memories when they would bring their family up to visit, and Susan brought her brothers and sister. We loved to go hiking around and sometimes camp, or they stayed in the A-frame cabins. The 60's were a magical time!!! Susan is still such an amazing and kind hearted person.

      10 6Rating: +4