Polaris Live at The Forum Melbourne February 22

As music fans we relish the opportunity of following a band from an early stage in there career to one day rise up and take over the world (insert evil villain music). There’s a certain feeling of pride you get as the venues get bigger and the once supporting band becomes the headliner. Seeing Sydney outfit Polaris back in 2014 perform in front of 30 people I could never have imagined experiencing what I did at a sold out Forum Theatre in front of 2000 adoring fans, but here we are. Believe it or not this is the fourth tour in a row Polaris have completely sold out. Think about that for a second, every show for four tours have sold out, shits wild. Anyway celebrating the release of their sophomore album ‘The Death of Me’ Polaris brought along some friends to join in the festivities.

Opening up proceedings are Melbourne heavy boys Alpha Wolf who have been touring relentlessly ever since the release of the 2019 EP Fault. Running through a best of set the band just get better and better every time I see them with front man Lachie feeling more confident on stage with each passing show. Opening with ‘Black Mamba’ and closing with the certified banger ‘Sub-Zero’ it felt like a case of no wasted movement for a band looking to have a massive 2020. News that there second album is finished is extremely exciting and the band played a new song titled ‘Akudama’ which has my tick of approval so if that means anything to anyone (it doesn’t) then you’re in for a treat.

Throughout Alpha Wolfs set Lachie would constantly tell the crowd that we weren’t ready for what was about to happen. He was correct. Japanese outfit Crystal Lake came to chew bubble gum and steal the fucking show…and they were all out of bubble gum. To put things into perspective half way through the set the crowd erupted into a Crystal Lake chant, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in Australia. Singer Ryo responded to the chants by telling Melbourne to shut the fuck up which honestly was the most on brand response I could’ve hoped for. 

This set was 18 years in the making and Crystal Lake performed like they were never going to come back (please come back). Opening with ‘Aeon’ and playing majority of songs off there latest album Helix it was something that needed to be seen to be believed. Something about the Japanese heavy music scene feels so exciting and so infectious combining nu metal bounce riffs with crushing double kicks. My only complaint would be the sound was less than kind, maybe the sound guy was watching in awe like the rest of us. Crystal Lake gained a host of new fans from this tour and I miss them already.

I actually felt a little bit bad for American Metalcore outfit Wage War who had to follow that, it almost felt like the graveyard shift. That being said I was really impressed with the fact the band were playing cuts from all three albums which I enjoyed seeing. But after what I just witnessed the whole set felt very…..American. Everything was very rehearsed and by the numbers which can work if your songs are good enough. But they weren’t. Despite that cuts like the Architects inspired (rip-off) ‘Low’ and the closer ‘Stitch’ had the crowd going Dizzee Rascal levels of bonkers and overall the second half of the set was much better, but I think Crystal Lake were just too hard to follow.

Touring off an album that has literally just been released the day before a show is always going to be a little bit tricky. ‘The Death of Me’ is a fantastic album but how do you know what songs to play off an album the fans haven’t even heard yet? This tour is almost a trial and error in many respects and the worst case scenario would’ve seen a lot of fans leave short changed. Luckily Polaris came Polaris saw and Polaris conquered us all.

As the band walk on stage you feel the atmosphere shift, there’s a sense of urgency from both band and crowd as Polaris are work through the opening two cuts ‘Pray for Rain’ & ‘Landmine’. The crowd are immediately whipped into the a frenzy as the band balance the set with cuts from ‘The Death of Me’ & ‘The Mortal Coil’ expertly, even playing ‘Unfamiliar’ for the first time in couple of years which was a lovely treat. Polaris feel bigger than they ever have with the crowd giving them every bit of energy in return.

The Remedy’ has one the most deafening crowd participation moments I’ve ever heard. ‘Hypermania’ has the whole crowd bouncing like it was a Limp Bizkit concert & ‘Consume’ had a good old fashion wall of death which always looks cool. Going off stage and coming back to play two more anthems in ‘Masochist’ & ‘Lucid’ really does solidify how far the band have come and how this new album is going to take the band to new heights. 

In true WWE terms Polaris’ time is now and it feels like a great reward for the amount of hard work and effort the band have put in over the past three years. This show and this tour almost feels like a season finale in many respects with the band getting there crowning moment. It’s now just a matter of time before we see if the next season of Polaris take over the fucking world is as good as what we just witnessed. Smart money says they’ll be just fine.

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