What a year it has been for Polaris: a third sold out tour of Australia interspersed with successful European and American jaunts, the band have gone from strength to strength. It’s no surprise that fans and critics are expecting to see the boys on bigger stages in the near future. The album The Mortal Coil exploded, and the momentum has been so strong that a headline Australian tour—with support from American heavyweights The Devil Wears Prada, Gideon, and local boys Thornhill—was the perfect way to celebrate their homecoming.

Promoting their EP Butterfly, Melbourne’s Thornhill play a short sharp set heavily weighted towards the aforementioned EP. Tracks like ‘Limbo’ and ‘Sunflower’ display the band’s technical process—driven by drummer Ben Maida—to an already packed and appreciative room. They combine a mixture of pop punk vocals with a hardcore style that is showcased perfectly on closing track ‘Reptile.’

Alabama’s Gideon have had their cracking album Cold out for a while now, and last night they took to the cramped UniBar stage to service more breakdowns than a car mechanic. Vocalist Daniel McWhorter owns the stage, creating the first circle pits of the night. Songs like ‘Champions,’Pulling Teeth’ andProdigal Son’ have the neck muscles straining from headbanging as Gideon’s energetic hardcore style wins over the audience.

While the speakers rumble, the crowd rushes to the front as iconic six-piece The Devil Wears Prada tear onto the stage, creating a wall of noise. Having a set list that mixes classics like ‘Born To Lose’ with rare numbers, the band have seen Gideon’s breakdowns and raised the stakes. Singer Mike Hranica is a whirling, twisting, contorting vision of energy, imploring one and all to join him. The boys haven’t been here for four years, but the crowd help them make up for lost time with rip-roaring approval of their performance.

The all-conquering heroes Polaris aren’t here to mess around; the guys rip into an explosive set, starting with ‘The Remedy.’ From the back comes the night’s first crowd surfers, as everyone sings in unison, “heavy lies the beating heart” before chaos ascends. The cramped, hot and sweaty mosh forges a synergy with the band that turns the night electric. ‘L’Appel Du Vide’ and ‘Relapse’ keep the momentum going and the crowd is involved in every step.

The Mortal Coil recently turned one—provoking the audience to sing an impromptu happy birthday, leaving vocalist Jamie Hails speechless—and the band have honed their craft perfectly in that year.

The surfers keep climbing and the mosh pits keep crashing as the band delivers more energy. While people are pulled from the pit looking worse for wear, yet exhilarated, Polaris close their set with a barnstorming ‘Lucid.’ This tour is a fitting end to a massive 2018 for the band, and as they get ready to take a break before the next phase of their career, one thing’s for certain: we won’t be seeing Polaris in a venue this small again.

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Photos: Matt Pfeil