The last time Polar Bear Club were in Leeds was in May 2009, when they played on the Punktastic Stage at Slam Dunk Festival, but, this time round, we see the New York five-piece play in a much more natural setting – there’s no barriers and neon tutus in sight tonight – at the intimate Cockpit, bringing Shook Ones and Title Fight along with them.
There’s a whole lot of buzz around tonight’s openers Title Fight, and they prove why, as the youngsters from Kingston, Pennsylvania play their catchy brand of emotive melodic hardcore mixed with gruffy pop-punk tinges – basically, like a Lifetime and Saves The Day mishmash. Unfortunately, the music is pretty overwhelming, drowning out the vocals for the majority of their set, but that doesn’t prevent the loyal contingent at the front enthusiastically singing along to every word with the likes of Symmetry and Memorial Field providing to be hits.
Shook Ones follow suit, opening their set with the poppy Crunch Time In Tooth Town getting everyone rallied up, amassing in a clap-a-long, and it’s clear that a good portion of the crowd tonight are solely here for Shooks. The sound continues to be a bit troublesome, with the gravely vocals of frontman Scott Freeman sometimes getting lost, but that doesn’t stop the sheer fun of their energetic performance as they showcase their sound of upbeat melodic hardcore.
Headliners Polar Bear Club finally take to the stage as they deliver an hour long set of old and new, with Sometimes Things Just Disappear opener Eat Dinner, Bury The Dog, and Run kicking things off, following with the thumping drums of the feel-good Living Saints.
You can’t help but smile along with frontman Jimmy Stadt during his boppy performance, as he cheekily sticks out his tongue while belting out his impressive vocal delivery, effortlessly transitioning from intensely raspy to smooth vocals throughout.
New tunes from their latest release Chasing Hamburg, such as Boxes and Lights of Local Eyes, as well as the stripped-down Drifting Thing are all welcome, freshening things up greatly.
Of course, all the favourites are there like Burned In A Jar and the raucous Our Ballands, before ending with EP darling Most Miserable Life, with the 250-capacity unifying together to scream the anthemic lyrics of “We fucked our ears, we fucked our throats!” at the top of their lungs, with the odd stage-diver thrown in for good measure; a perfect way to end the night.
– Faye Turnbull.
Keep checking back for our interview with Title Fight coming soon!