The bluesy, high-powered energy of Polish Club treated us to a very sweaty performance on Saturday night, dropping into Richmond’s Corner Hotel to smash out their soulful rock anthems with help from a five-piece horn section.
The Sydney-based self-described ‘sexy rock band’ (accurate, if you’re into silky button-up shirts, bellowing vocals and thick moustaches) turned up bearing gifts that simply kept on giving; a baritone saxophone, a trumpet, a tuba, two trombones and a handful of brass-related innuendos from drummer John-Henry. This brand new lineup compiled into a seriously fun evening that had the whole room exhausted, yet calling for more.
Kicking off with an unexpected cover of the classic ‘Give It Up’ by KC and the Sunshine Band, we quickly gained an idea of the kind of excitement and banter that would soon follow. The time between almost every upbeat track gave space for the boys to make jokes about finally hosting professional musicians on their stage, as well as hurl expletives (with smiles, of course) at hecklers shouting at them to ‘get a haircut’ or ‘play more music’. Yet the best way they managed to involve their vocal crowd was to just bang out their favourite tracks from 2017’s debut album, Alright Already – really damn well.
The repetitive, descending guitar riff in the chorus of ‘Where U Been?’, the slower, punching drum hits in ‘Able’ and Novak’s howling vocal lines throughout ‘Divided’ all brilliantly paired with the horn section to construct a rounded, fulfilling showcase of one of the country’s most underrated rock outfits.
The brass section was a constant feature, not at all a gimmick or a stage prop. The instantly-recognisable saxophone solo from George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ was thrown in somewhere, as well as the villainous opening to Pharoahe Monch’s ‘Simon Says’, before transitioning into the blues-ridden ‘Don’t Fuck Me Over’ from Polish Club’s self-titled 2015 EP. I especially loved how the brass seamlessly replaced the backing vocal runs in everybody’s favourite belter, ‘Come Party’, and of course their closing track – ‘Stop’ by the Spice Girls (because, why not?)
Other crowd favourites were ‘Beeping’, ‘Beat Up’ and ‘Whatchuknow’ – all tracks falling short of the three-minute mark, in true Polish Club fashion. Never was the audience given time to stop and breathe, let alone get bored. Each song came and went, just as enthused and intense as the last, capped with laughter and jokes from the entire band. I think Polish Club set out to prove that live music is the most fun people can have; in that case, they definitely delivered.
My favourite aspect of their recent live show was the addition of the horns; I’m fully expecting these sounds on their sophomore record – their music is far more complete with brass, lifting what are undoubtedly already great songs to simply phenomenal ones.
It bothers me, and I’m sure the band too, that not a single track from their debut made Triple J’s Hottest 100 list for that year – clearly, listeners need to get along to more live shows, because Polish Club is undoubtedly an act that deserves to be seen, harnessing steady potential to become one of the greats.
Corner Hotel, Richmond
Saturday July 7, 2018
Reviewed by Zach Edwards