A small and curious gathering moves towards the stage as soon as local band Years give what they have in their nimble performance. Their mix of ambient heart on sleeve pop rock has some bite to it but lacks anything unique and instead provides a set that is both daunting and unoriginal. Another problem is that there’s just a sheer lack of stage presence in their performance resulting in the smallest of warm applauses.
Livening up the proceedings is boisterous rock ‘n’ roll hardcore mob Cowards who utilise frantic guitars that are reminiscent of Every Time I Die and Glassjaw. They are a very entertaining band to watch and provide a few laughs in their in between song banter but there is really something lacking in their aura. The trouble with their sound is that it’s something that has been replicated by a lot of bands and has only ever been perfected by a minority who have become big players in the music business. Perhaps with an added spit shine mixed with the heat of a gritty fire poker could help to make them a static charged spectacle for all to see.
To the surprise of those who may have only heard of this project and to the expected anticipation of his die-hard fans, Into It. Over It. a.k.a. Evan Weiss plays a charming solo acoustic set that is brimming with honesty and wonderful harmonies. Whether it’s his very intriguing stories between songs or the calm captivating interpretation of his craft (songs which he recorded and multi-instrumentally played by himself), there is without a doubt a very sweet atmosphere and brilliant magic touch to a performance being watched by the polite and patient crowd who are simply caught in the moment.
This calm moment soon morphs into an electric buzz as tonight’s guests from the far west burst onto the stage with a gruff anthemic cry. Polar Bear Club are nothing but a phenomenal bounty of contrasting meaty guitar and adrenaline filled melodies which sink in deeper and deeper until a wondrous epidemic occurs as the audience become more involved in what they are witnessing before them. The mould of older songs such as ‘Eat Dinner, Bury the Dog, and Run’ and ‘Burned Out in a Jaw’ mould perfectly with the glorious jaw stomping flow of more recent material including ‘Pawner’ and ‘I’ll Never Leave New York’. The biggest reactions comes from fan favourites ‘Living Saints’ and ‘Most Miserable Life’ which wield a supernova of intimacy in this compact environment. By the end of it all, you can only be suffering from a perplexed and joyous craving for more from the New York punk crew. The only diagnosis for such symptoms can be concluded on an event which has been cemented in the great memories section of tonight’s attendees.