Thursday 24th Feb, 2022
The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD
Supports: Alpha Wolf, Justice For The Damned and Mirrors
Here’s a fun fact for you: The last time I saw Polaris in Brisbane was at The Tivoli on February 29th 2020, just before the world turned to shit… Here we are 2 years later and the next time I’m seeing them in Brisbane is once again at The Tivoli for show #2 of their three night stint in our beloved city – and in a weird way, it kinda felt like no time had passed since!
Kicking off the evening of metalcore were Resist Records boys Mirrors who I witnessed for the first time at Knight And Day Festival last year – in a festival setting they sounded great, in an enclosed venue, they were on fire. Frontman Patty Goodman‘s transitions between cleans and screams were so crisp you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a backing track as they powered through songs from their new album The Ego’s Weight with ‘Rebirth‘ being the standout track of their set. However, my eyes were locked firmly on bassist Jake Mackin who did his best impression of an angry pineapple with his dreadlocks flopping all over the place and a power stance that KoRn would be so proud of. Big ups to the lads for drawing an impressive crowd at such an early slot.
Next were deathcore heroes Justice For The Damned and having witnessed these boys on several occasions now, they are only getting better with each and every single time they hit the stage. Vocalist Bobak Rafiee made the most of his time encouraging the crowd to get involved with the multiple circle pits and moshing their heavy performance resulted in. At one point, Bobak even called for a stray drinks table to be moved out of the way to create more space for mayhem. Notable mentions go out to ‘The House You Built Is Burning‘ and ‘Pain Is Power‘ – but a very honourable mention goes out to the balding bloke who threw his can of drink at his mates before rushing headfirst into the wall of death, only to be sucked into the abyss by the forcefield of bodies annihilating each other. As I gradually start appreciating deathcore more (thanks to co-editor Ricky Aarons), I would love to see these boys playing a longer set in a large venue like The Tivoli. Their combination of hardcore/deathcore is going to skyrocket them to the big leagues in years to come.
I mentioned to local show friend Cam (Happy 21st again buddy) that it only felt like a couple of weeks back that we saw Alpha Wolf, in the exact same venue tearing up the stage – we weren’t wrong because between January 16th and now, the boys were back and despite being in a support slot, they still managed to set the place on fire with their ferocious antics.
Frontman Lochie Keogh shunned off a shooey chant (which for some stupid reason has made its way back to shows again – booo!) and bellowed seemlessly through tracks like ‘Sub-Zero‘, ‘Restricted R18+‘, ‘Acid Romance‘ and ‘No Name‘ while the rest of the boys owned their places on stage. The last time Polaris played The Tivoli (in 2020), Alpha Wolf were the first support act to hit the stage that evening. Now they were the final one before the main attraction and goddamn if that’s not a glow up then you’re not paying close attention. Rounding out their set with ‘Akudama‘ there was not one single person standing still throughout the entire duration.
At exactly 9:00pm on the dot – the lights dimmed, and Polaris took to the stage kicking off the evening with ‘Pray For Rain‘ which set the heavy precedence for the next 75 minutes. ‘Vagabond‘ followed and I somehow found myself deep within the mosh anticipating the appearance of that bloody tambourine I love so much – only this time – it was fitted with flashing lights so that when the house lights went dark, the first thing we saw was frontman Jamie Hails bashing away on it – much to the approval of everyone I was shoulder to shoulder with. ‘Creatures of Habit‘ and ‘Crooked Path‘ followed with bassist/clean vocalist Jake Steinhauser‘s singing sounding immaculate. To be honest, ‘Consume‘ is a bit of a blur as I took an elbow to the head mid-mosh which resulted in me sitting out for ‘Hypermania‘. That song alone engaged one of the biggest circle pits of the night – the speed, the stamina, the helpful community lifting anyone up who fell immediately – this is what we all love most about our little heavy music scene – the love and support for each other.
‘Casualty‘ was next and if you’ve never seen drummer Dan Furnari playing this, it is not only a sight for sore eyes, but sonically, you can hear just how talented this man is behind his kit. I’ve been in awe of Polaris for years, but this performance alone had me wide-eyed and mouth agape (and it wasn’t even the most jaw dropping moment of the night either). The entire crowd sang along for ‘Above My Head‘ with security doing a fantastic job of catching the countless bodies being flung over the barrier by the big thighed, top-knot sporting man in the mosh who was honestly the fucking life of the party. I didn’t catch his name, but he was having the best time moshing on his own and ensuring everyone around him was too. Kudos to that guy, if you’re reading this, you made the night so much more wholesome.
The tempo turned up to 11 for ‘Landmine‘ resulting in yet another mass circle pit and more tumbles from the tiresome punters, but it was this song and ‘All of This Is Fleeting‘ where my eyes were locked on Ryan Siew. The big Cheshire smile on his face as he stepped up on the riser to play his parts was infectious to see. Jamie addressed the crowd reminding us that heavy shows like this are our home and our cathartic release from the struggles of life. It’s the one place where we can come and scream along, and nothing matters for the moments we are inside those venue doors. He’s not wrong you know; we all need this in our lives and it’s been rough over these past few years – as we return to a post-covid normal, I think we all need to get out more and embrace each other, our fav musicians and their music. ‘Masochist‘ induced yet another sing-a-long section for the crowd before the lads wrapped things up momentarily with ‘Lucid’. I swear on my life, I have never heard so many people screaming the lyrics “I found my love and let it kill me” before tonight. Once again, another wholesome moment.
Hot and sweaty we all took a breather begging for one more song prior to Jamie making his way back out again thanking all the bands for jumping on the tour and revealing the next song had it’s live debut at the previous evening’s show – nekminnit – ‘Martyr (Waves)‘ begins playing out and holy shit, I said it before but I’ll say it again – Jake’s vocals were so on point, it was hard to believe at times it was really him. The harmonious singing between Jake and Jamie just flowed like elegant silk sheets and really made it sound like these guys had been performing this song for years. Video below, sorry not sorry for my terrible singing.
He hasn’t got a mention yet because I’m saving the best for last, but guitarist Rick Schneider was a machine gun for the entire set all the way until set closer ‘The Remedy‘. This old boy (me) got back up yet again for another crowd surf, locking eyes and smiles with Rick as he fluently played through the band’s biggest song to date. Everyone gave their all for this. During the stop down where everyone screams “RUNNING CIRCLES” – everyone was screaming! It was honestly the best way to wrap up the show and despite the night coming to a close shortly after, I think everyone was spent and slowly made their way out of the venue with huge grins on their faces.
It was also great to see the younger kids coming down stairs talking to their parents about the gig – being an AA show, tonight they got to experience what a lot of us have had the pleasure of seeing for years – one of the BEST metalcore bands Australia has to offer – showcasing music from their best album to date in a fun, fulfilling and welcoming atmosphere that they’ll no doubt remember for the rest of their lives.
Bravo Polaris, if this is the last time I see you in Brisbane before you take on the world again, you made it a night to remember…
Gig Review by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Photo Gallery by Nick Hargans Insta: @nickhargans
Please credit Wall of Sound and Nick Hargans if you repost photos!
Justice For The Damned
Polaris – Summer Tour 2022
with Alpha Wolf, Justice For The Damned and Mirrors