2009 was a busy year for rising New York quintet Polar Bear Club – visiting the UK on three occasions; first supporting The Gaslight Anthem, before doing their own headline tour and then playing the Leeds and Reading festivals, as well as finding the time to tour their native states. Now back in support of their sophomore effort ‘Chasing Hamburg’, whilst the album may have received a somewhat under-whelming response, live they’re still an exciting draw.
First up, on support duty the youthful Title Fight, and ever-capable Shook Ones both set the tone of evening to melodic hardcore – combing fast and heavy riffs with more accessible choruses. A good choice, with both bands clearly excited to be brought along for the ride.
Returning to the Cockpit almost a year since their last outing – last time in the much smaller upstairs room, whilst Polar Bear Club may have not have graduated to the iconic venue’s biggest room just yet, there’s still a strong turnout here tonight. And that’s not the only noticeable difference. Whilst they may have never been by any means lacking in stage presence, there’s an extra confidence on display now – a clear sign of how much the band have grown from their now more hectic touring schedule.
Surprisingly, material from their latest release is limited to ‘Living Saints’, ‘Light Of Local Eyes’, ‘Drifting Thing’, ‘Boxes’ and the title track; with tracks from both the ‘The Redder The Better’ EP and debut ‘Sometimes Things Just Disappear” still dominating the set. That said, the songs picked from ‘Chasing Hamburg’ are easily the album’s greatest moments, and merge perfectly with the older material. Rounding the night off with an encore of ‘Hollow Place’ and ‘Most Miserable Life’ the Cockpit is left more than satisfied. You can’t help but think it won’t be long till they’re back again, commanding a much bigger stage and audience alike.