Review: Polish Club | Corner Hotel, Melbourne | 7.7.18

Monday, July 9, 2018

Over their tenure as a live band, Polish Club has been known to exemplify many things — including sassy stage presence, flashy fast-paced songs and snappy performances that leave the crowd always wanting more. Both David Novak and John-Henry have excellent stagecraft, with their quick wit and quips never far behind. With a full horn band behind them on Saturday night, the duo and their five-piece looked near unstoppable.

They were joined by trio Sweater Curse and folk four-piece All Our Exes Live in Texas, the evening at the Corner Hotel was highlighted by the many different musical genres it brought with it, as well as the formidable dancing of David Novak.


Sweater Curse was a lively prospect for the bandroom in Richmond. The trio, who hail from Queensland, were the right choice for an opener for the equally fast-paced Polish Club, starting the evening off with full energy.

With a set reaching a touch over half an hour, Sweater Curse was able to display their musical abilities to the growing crowd — who, by the end of the set, were terribly excitable by the young band’s prospects. With only a couple of singles released, much of their set was made up of Sweater Curse’s new material intermixed with their current singles, 'Can’t See You Anymore', 'Don’t Call Me' and 'Fell Asleep'.

With a classic indie, rock and grunge mix, Sweater Curse had a sound reminiscent of modern grunge unit, Tiny Little Houses, but kept their unique vibe through the tender vocals of lead vocalist and bassist, Monica. Sweater Curse closed out their set with their soon-to-be-released single, 'Mon’s Song', filling the room with their laid-back indie sound for one last song.


All Our Exes Live In Texas was the second act, and their folk charm was a refreshing change of pace before Polish Club. With their only form of percussion being the tambourine on the foot of Elana, the foursome relied on their pleasant harmonisation and voicing to deliver a thrilling performance.

Hannah, Georgia, Elana and Katie each swapped the lead vocal duties with their individual vocal tones painting a different picture with each song.  Their set was powerful and lyrically reflective including their popular singles, 'Tell Me', 'The Devil’s Part' and 'When The Sun Comes Up'.

'World War Three' was a highlight of their set — the song, which is about violence and abuse against women, moved the crowd. The song was a beautiful ode to the current predicament of the world with their heartfelt vocals taking hold of the room.

It was their vocal prowess and hard-hitting, yet sometimes light, lyrics that foster such awe in the crowd,  plus their beautiful folk music, that delivered an air of quiet excitement leading into Polish Club.


As far as power duos in music go, it’s generally hard to go past Polish Club’s punchy, sassy performances and Saturday night's show reaffirmed this sentiment. Now with their new five-piece brass section, Polish Club’s level of fun soared to new heights.

Both David Novak and John-Henry relished having a horn section and used it to full effect, arriving on stage to a full brass fanfare before immediately exploding into 'Give It Up'. A quick intro was followed by a roll of brass based jokes, Novak asking the crowd if they were “ready to get horny” and that they were “already horny enough” on-stage.

Again, the energy lifted on-stage as the duo and their newfound friends burst into their popular track 'Money'. The crowd immediately responded, singing, screaming and dancing to one of Polish Club’s best-known tracks.

The set, made up of fifteen tracks, was a perfect mix of Polish Club’s fast-paced winners, as well as some of their slower numbers such as 'Don’t Fuck Me Over' and 'How To Be Alone'. The rest was made-up of their well-known magic with 'Come Party', 'Divided', 'Beeping' and 'Whatuknow' all featuring on a packed setlist.

Apart from being a great set-up for the many horn-based puns Novak and John-Henry had worked on, the brass section they brought along with them for the show assisted in fattening out the lower bassy, end that Polish Club sometimes lacked — using the wide sounds of the tuba, trombones, trumpet and suave baritone saxophone, they made a real impact.

Doing an encore at random hasn’t really been Polish Club’s style, so telling the crowd that they were going to do it felt much more natural. The encore was everything a Polish Club fan could wish for, with the band closing out on 'Stop' by the immortal Spice Girls. With Novak and John-Henry duetting with each other in the roles of the spice girls (John-Henry reading the lyrics scrawled on a piece of paper). It was the perfect way for the show to end — the spicy passion of Polish Club, the fun fanfare of the horn section and the bouncy energetic lyrics of the Spice Girls, setting the crowd off and leaving everyone fulfilled from Polish Club’s performance.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

You can catch Polish Club this Saturday 14th July at Factory Theatre in Sydney. Tickets are avaliable here.