It’s not necessarily the biggest shows that are the most successful ones. In fact, we’ve recently been to a small gig, in the small town of Ieper (Western Belgium). Polar. were headlining, with supports coming from Belgian bands Signs Of Algorithm, Burn Us Alive and the mighty Now, Voyager. To be honest, we couldn’t make it early enough to see all of them, however, we managed to catch Now, Voyager‘s set.
First things first, let’s talk about the setting : nearly a floor show, in a room that isn’t so small. We are at a youth house (“Jeugdhuis” in Flemish), so things are nice, held and organized properly by young and passionate people. It was an off show for Polar., as they actually were on their way to Scandinavia to start a tour with Bleed From Within. This also was the second time we saw them playing in Belgium outside of a proper tour. Which is rad.
So yes, this was a last-minute show and still, a few people showed up. Alright, not so many BUT let’s not forget we were in Ieper, a small city West Flanders, in the middle of the week. It is quite obvious that in such conditions, only truly passionate people would come and this was truly delectable. Because let’s be honest, it’s not everyday that you can fully enjoy the show without feeling lost somewhere between a fashion contest and a social gathering. Now about the music : sound conditions weren’t the most perfect we’ve had experienced, but this hasn’t taken anything off tonight’s performances.
Having recently released a new EP, Now, Voyager are one of those bands that can only make you proud of your local music scene. We discovered them a couple of years ago supporting some international bands and they appeared to us like a revelation. A few years later, things seem to finally open to them right as they deserve as they have just signed with the new british label Destroy Everything. What was impressing about them at the time was that they sounded nothing like beginners. Since then, they’ve made some impressive steps forward and their progress is fabulous.
Full of rage and devotion trough some intense vocals, massive pounding drums and frenzied guitar-riffs, Now, Voyager‘s performance had something also epic because of its atmospheric sounding. They haven’t invented anything new, but their take on classic post-hardcore clean / unclean vocal combo topping hard-hitting guitars is innovative and interesting. Also, the four members ( a bass player is still missing!) have quite an impressive stage presence, especially guitarist Martin that seems spend more time on the floor with the audience than on stage. Which is something beautiful in our opinion because that’s when you feel something’s really happening between the artists and their listeners. Another highlight of Now, Voyager‘s performance was the last song ‘To the Heart’ : That’s when emotion was at its height. A fantastic, marvelous drum performance delivered by all of the band members only topped for a moment by Nabil Sanaullah’s ‘naked’ voice. It wraps up the set, leaving you far away from there. It’s just too bad that the backing vocals / Choruses were put on sample it would have also sounded amazing live!
Next up are Polar. Known for their live performances that take the stage by storm, they haven’t failed their reputation either way. Facing a few shy kids, guitarist Fabian Lomas and frontman Adam ‘Woody’ Woodford immediately set the tone by jumping off stage and making people move. An efficient technique judging by the little circle pit that formed afterwards! Polar are pros and know exactly their craft, delivering a technically solid performance composed by a few hits from all of their releases such as Tonight Matthew, K.C.M and acclaimed single H.E.L.L. They even revealed a new song, giving a first taste for what’s yet to come. Something different and revitalizing but still Polar whatsoever. Remaining true to themselves, Polar give more than every bit of energy they have despite a long-ass van journey all the way from England. Things get quickly noisy and messy, venturing into a little mayhem (with a dozen kids, yes it is possible). Woodford goes out to meet his listeners that seem to be equally happy to be here, singing and crowd surfing with their best mates. Things wrap up quickly unfortunately but everyone loudly begs for an encore and Polar. are back for a last song.
Keep your eyes peeled, Polar will be back with new music before you know it!
It felt honestly good to witness such collusion and sharing between bands and their audience, even if the latter is composed by a bunch of people only. Major props to the organizers for throwing up the gig and obviously to the bands for being here with such joy and everyone else involved for actually making this happening.
PS : To the first bands we missed, we promise we’ll make it up to you next time!
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