Most of the way through a gigantic and largely sold out national tour, one that started with barely any breathing room between the release of their outrageously good debut album Alright Already, you might have forgiven Sydney duo Polish Club for showing up in the city of the Brown Snake with less than peak energy levels.
If you showed up to their sold out set at The Foundry late last week and watched them tear down the stage you’d know that’s not how Polish Club do business though.
Locals Feuds warm up the early crowd with a set full of beautiful slow-burners that build to huge-riffed crescendos and Maddy Jane all the way from Tasmania keeps the pace impeccably, a soulful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams one of the highlights of her set.
With the Foundry crowd sandwiching themselves into every area of breathable space between the stage and the bar, Novak and John take the stage and proceed to burn it to the ground. Fiery newies Where U Been? and Shark Attack! as well as old toe-tappers Did Somebody Tell Me and My House. I’m only 90% sure they even managed to squeeze all those in, (the whole set such a beautifully blurred-lines boogie that I may be simply adding to the Polish Club myth in my head), nonetheless their new material blended effortlessly with the old from the start.
Original ballad Don’t Fuck Me Over incites one of the first of many singalongs, the slower songs spaced out across the set to wonderful effect. Lighter-waver Divided later on is another that showcases Novak’s second–to-very-fucking-few talents, possessing the Giannis Antetokounmpo edition of vocal wingspans.
Not just a singer either, Novak and drummer John bounce off each other hilariously onstage. They fire shots directly into the maroon heart of Brisbane (“This isn’t my own personal opinion, but FUCK THE BRONCOS” and “The Brisbane Roar? That’s not even a mascot, your team is named after a sound”) and play the Sydney heels like they were born to do it.
They redeem themselves in the Sunshine State pretty quickly though with a chest-beating cover of Like A Dog that would have a single tear running down each member of Powderfinger’s cheeks even with a few ad-hoc lyrics thrown in here and there.
It’s pure bedlam for Alright Already’s first pair of singles in Come Party and Beat Up, same doubly so for frenetic signature tune Beeping. Somewhere out there the vaguely threatening Polish Club fan got goosebumps as the boys tore through the tempo-shifting rollercoaster of If It Was Me, the drunken swagger of Broke another highlight in a show bursting with them.
They promise they’ll finish with another cover after bringing the house down with Able and (as much as I was hoping they’d finally embrace their calling as Twobastank (the two-piece Hoobastank tribute band), they do just that with a disgustingly good rendition of their Like A Version debut from earlier in the year; Flume’s Never Be Like You in a stomping blues arrangement that’s so good it makes the original sound as lifeless as New South Wales’ State Of Origin efforts in the last 15 years by comparison.
There are few musical experiences more joyous than a Polish Club show in 2017. Fun, carefree and loud, my ears rang for the rest of the next day and when I’m having to get my grandchildren to yell everything at me because of my crippling tinnitus in a few decades I’ll remember this night (and then give them a highly exaggerated and long-winded tale of it while they groan inwardly).
The duo’s energy is relentless and hopelessly infectious from curtain-raiser to finish and Alright Already’s journey from studio to stage has been kept simple and crushingly effective. There might be no band less likely to mail a show in right now than Polish Club, they’ve brought the heat live consistently since their beginnings as a band and tonight was no exception.
It’s time to get these two on a major festival bill somewhere, for the love of Bernard Fanning.
Image: Tone Deaf