Live Review: Polish Club tears up the Gasometer stage for their closing show in Melbourne

Saturday night was the concluding show for Polish Club‘s ‘Get Some Clarity’ tour and there is no doubt that the boys wholeheartedly went out on a high. In October, the rock duo (David Novak and John-Henry Pajak) released the first glimpse of their forthcoming second album with their latest single ‘Clarity’ – a mammoth track that has left fans both excited and greedy to hear more. As a result, the band have spent December touring up and down the country alongside Adelaide representatives, Wing Defence and Heaps Good Friends. The three completely contrasting but equally superior bands spoiled the crowd in Collingwood this weekend with first-class performances all round.

Wing Defence opened the show and instantly set the tone for what was in store for the rest of the night: heaps of high energy performances. Thrashing guitars, catchy riffs, sulky lyrics and powerful, growling lead vocals were enough to transform you back to the 90’s riot grrrl era, when girl bands multiplied and began to influence a new genre of rock. The set featured nothing but punchy songs, with their two singles “Listerine” and “Stuck” receiving the most physical responses from the audience. It’s always revitalising to see women on stage at gigs, especially in the heavily male dominated rock scene, and this band absolutely revelled in the message that us girls unapologetically belong up there too. Wing Defence are ‘here if you need’ and girls, we categorically and unreservedly need you.

Straight up, I’ve spent the past twelve hours trying to think of a band with a more alluring stage presence than Heaps Good Friends but I really am at a loss. Each member of the three-piece performed with such charisma, it proved impossible to take your eyes off the stage, even when the music paused. Limbs did not cease to flail for more than fifteen seconds during the entire set and their kooky lyrics and inclusive humour between songs had the audience consistently laughing out loud. Their electronic-indie sound is utterly nostalgic of the 80’s synth-pop that so many of our generation crave to hear in music now. “Let’s Hug Longer” and “Olympic Sneakers” were my most anticipated songs of their slot, but in exceeding my already high expectations, their entire set proved a highlight for me. Well, I know who my new favourite band is anyway.

A suddenly sardine-packed crowd in The Gaso indicated that the night’s headliner, Polish Club, were on the brink of emerging. The Sydney pair plus temp bass player (Wade Keighran) made their way through the dense crowd to climb on stage and play through songs from their debut album Alright Alrighty (2017), as well as one or two tracks from their impending album. A live rendition of “Beeping” seemed to be the epitome of what a Polish Club track is – something really f*king fast and really f*king tight. The boys refused to let the energy of the room dip by continuing with more fast’n’tight songs, “Beat Up” and “Gimme Money”.

To change up the tone of the set they dropped the tempo slightly with “Back 2 U”, followed by their most notable slow ballad, “Divided”. Arms linked around shoulders before rising for a gentle unison wave during the final a cappella chorus. Lead singer, David Novak, commented on the audiences knowledge of the lyrics before diving into their latest single, “Clarity”, when the audience once again proved themselves by singing every lyric back at the stage word for word.

The boys managed to squeeze a fleeting but highly prominent cover of “Rattlesnake” by Melbourne’s local and beloved King Gizzard into their set – a welcome surprise that the room full of Melbournians predictably favoured and frankly, erupted to. Upon finishing, Novak warned the crowd that he was about to drop ‘quite a lot of f bombs’ and succeeded with “Don’t Fuck Me Over”, a comparatively more stripped back song parallel to the rest of the duo’s repertoire (well, for the first half of it at least).

This time last year, the band posted a cover of Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on YouTube in order to launch their fans into the festive spirit. Not only did they showcase a live rendition of this on Saturday night, but the lads went one step further by welcoming members of Wing Defence and Heaps Good Friends back on stage to perform it with them. It was total sublime chaos. Flailing limbs returned, some clung and clawed to the stage roofing, others fell to the ground and on top of one another. Inanimate objects that weren’t drums were used as drums and everyone on stage and half of the audience became marinated in beer. Basically what we were witnessing was three drunk bands, (on both booze and life itself), celebrating the end of a highly successful tour and it felt oddly humbling to be part of it. Said chaos continued for their final number, a cover of Semisonic‘s “Closing Time”, after which point every person in the room, musicians and audience alike, seemed reluctant in wanting to leave.

The crowd’s range of age and gender was a pronounced reminder of the band’s versatility and popularity amongst a vast spectrum of people. I turned around a number of times during the night in attempt to gauge the audience’s reaction to the show, and I could not distinguish a single person who didn’t seem ecstatic to be there. Every artist on stage that night demonstrated not just exceptional musicianship but proved also to be a really special and intriguing bunch of performers.

With that in mind, it’s a stand-out 4.5/5 from me!

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Polish Club’s new single ‘Clarity’ is out now and available to stream or download HERE.

Although the band’s ‘Get Some Clarity’ tour has finished, they do have a handful of upcoming shows (dates below). For more information, check out their official site HERE. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Upcoming shows:

  • 28 Dec 2018 – ULLADULLA, Marlin Hotel
  • 25 Jan 2019 – COFFS HARBOUR, C.ex
  • 27 Jan 2019 – BYRON BAY, Byron Bay Brewery

The reviewer attended the performance at The Gasometer on Saturday, 15th December 2018.

Photography by Danny Hanssen.

Ruby Robinson

London-born pom living the Melbournian dream. Gig, rum & travel enthusiast.

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