Polish Club @ The Small Ballroom 11/05/17 (Live Review)
A few changes had been made to the small venue tucked inside the Gateway Hotel on Maitland Road since I had been there last. Considering the last few sold out shows there have ended in half the crowd being on stage, the addition of a barrier is probably a smart move. The crowd were gifted covers of the legendary David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and The Strokes in between originals.
Newcastle support act Arcades & Lions I think had the biggest crowd I’ve seen for an opening band at The Small Ballroom. Having just released their EP, the band will visit Wollongong and Melbourne at the end of this month. The four-piece bravely included a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” in their set.
A couple of months ago I saw Maddy Jane opening up for Kingswood, my friend and I couldn’t stop talking about how much we loved her sound. Back in Newcastle, this time with her two band members, to support Polish Club and it had only improved. Think along the lines of Courtney Barnett’s Australian edge to storytelling, although if you’re not a fan of Barnett, there’s a chance you’ll still like Maddy Jane, as her confident song writing and performance makes it difficult to not enjoy her music. Also, she covered a Fleetwood Mac song so she had my heart. From Tasmania, Maddy embraced the long haired rowdy crowd that Newcastle shows attract, amping up and addressing the crowd sarcastically with her between song banter.
Continuing with the local humour, Polish Club drummer John-Henry reminisced on the Newy Knights glory days, which received admirable approval from the crowd. Paired with singer Novak, the two filled the room with their fast-paced soul sound. It was easy to forget that there were only two of them on stage. The moment Novak began singing, everyone’s eyes and ears were fixated on that small stage, amazed at his talent.
Their debut album Alright, Already was released earlier this year, proving that a simple combination of drums and guitar coupled with a memorable voice can output an incredible garage rock and blues sound, and that you don’t need synths and eight people on stage to make something amazing.
Polish Club put it to the crowd to decide on a cover for them to perform, someone in the crowd yelled John Farnham, with drummer JH quickly shutting it down, saying that someone’s already ruined it this year (hint: it was a Like A Version), ouch. We collectively decided on The Strokes over Skegss, and after smashing out “Last Nite”, the pair admitted they don’t know a Skegss song, “although one has the same chords as our own song”. The band were stoked at the sold-out crowd on a Thursday night, a night which is quickly becoming more popular for live music in Newcastle.
Smashing through their tracks like “Beat Up”, “Beeping” and “Come Party”, the energetic duo ended their set with the cover of Flume’s track “Never Be Like You” that they delivered for Like A Version, leaving the supportive crowd more than satisfied.