Gig Review: Polaris + Belle Haven + Deadlights + Daybreak @ The Brightside

Headliner: Polaris

Supports: Belle Haven, Deadlights & Daybreak

Venue: The Brightside, Brisbane.

Date: October 27th, 2017

Review + Photography: Jeremy Edwards

If you go to a venue before doors and there’s already a line you can pretty well assume something big is gonna happen. Well that was a very safe assumption for the sold-out Polaris gig on Friday night at The Brightside in Brisbane.

The venue was at least sixty percent full before the opening act Daybreak took charge of the stage. The lads traveled all the way from Perth but had some obvious local supporters already. There was one punter permitted on stage to fill in a vocal part, a clear indication he’d done his homework and the band were all about rewarding his dedication. Daybreak have a consummate skill of employing about 20 BPM or less neck-breakers, right up to 200+BPM blast beat craziness; they even had Polaris’ main vocalist, Jamie Hails, on board for one song which sent the crowd nuts. Their overzealous fans nearly started a brawl with their MMA style of moshing, but you know the metal world, the rage doesn’t last long in the punters. The long-and-short of this band is that in their six-song set, they will have you captivated. Their lyrics are incredibly pertinent, but far beyond this writer to explain. Basically, get amongst Daybreak; you’ll be glad you did.

The second band to control the stage and crowd were Brissie four-piece Deadlights. As a local, it’s hard to understand why this band hasn’t become more popular than they already are. The stage at The Brightside isn’t massive and these guys covered every square inch of it in about 17 seconds flat. They were the epitome of frenetic, with the vocalist Dylan Davidson covering the most onstage real estate. In a true testament to their intensity, Davidson had broken his forearm at the Melbourne leg of the tour, but it clearly had no bearing on his performance. These guys had the crowd bouncing and if you know the size of The Brightside dance floor, that’s a whole pile of bounce. Full credit goes to bassist Sean Prior for being his own roadie; he not only managed to rectify completely unplugging his own rig but shortly after that he stomped the lead from his bass and fixed that in about one and a half bars. Beautiful to watch! Again, this is a band that deserves your attention.

By this point in the night, the humidity in the venue was at 100%, the place was full and so were a lot of the punters. And there were still two acts to go.

Belle Haven, you heard of them? Well you will soon. They recently graced stages in Brisbane as part of Bigsound and clearly haven’t looked back. These boys filled the main support quite prodigiously. Hailing from Melbourne, this quintet had complete crowd control from the get-go. A third of the crowd knew the words to pretty much every song which was an obvious delight to the band. There was an emotional interlude at one point where the lead singer, David De La Hoz recounted the story of how Belle Haven formed, unfortunately from a suicide attempt and consequent admission to a psych ward. The point of mentioning this is to shed light on a rampant situation amongst young Australians and to show what can happen if there is the help available to get through and come out the other side. Belle Haven are on a steep trajectory with their career. There music is amazing, their performance is top-notch and they are indisputable crowd-pleasers.

With what seemed like the longest break between bands ever, Polaris hit the stage hard with their current single ‘The Remedy’ and everyone in attendance was in full voice. Bassist Jake Steinhauser normally provides the backing vocals, but in another display of the intensity of this tour, he’d blown his voice out. This lead to the vocalists from the other three bands on the bill filling in his parts, and doing a damn fine job of it. While the other bands showed conspicuous ferocity, Polaris managed to take it even further. They got a circle pit happening in what had become a sardine can and the stage diving was some kind of Olympic level gymnastic shit with punters flipping from the stage into the throng of bodies. I use the word ‘literally’ in its proper definition when I say that the floor was literally bowing under the crowd. There had to be some level of structural damage from all that unified bouncing. It was a party on stage and off. Hails posed a question to the crowd: “we have a new album out next Friday, how many people pre-ordered that shit?” The response: pretty much every hand in the room was high in the air. A secure prediction is that Polaris are going to reach the same level as bands like Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction. They’re off on a European tour and if the rest of the world falls for them like Australia has, these guys are going to be massive. It’s guaranteed that this gig was huge for everyone involved. On the way out strangers were patting each other on the back, smiles were everywhere and the energy was palpable. This night will be remembered for a long time to come.

Congratulations to all bands involved, this show was a perfect display of the state of Australian heavy music. It is brilliant now and getting better by the second.

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