Plini + Intervals + Polaris
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
2 September 2016
Review By: Monica Strut
There was a line from the Oxford Art Factory half way up Oxford Street and as we entered the building we were met with bass drops reverberating down the hall and stairwell courtesy of Sydney locals, Polaris. I’d been keen to see the 5-piece for a while and was interested to find out if they’d live up to their hype.
The first thing that struck me was how incredible the bassist’s vocals were live. The second thing that struck me was the energy. The boys jumped around loving every moment of their time on stage with smiles from ear to ear. It was controlled energy; professional energy. Polaris knew how to pump up a crowd and they did a great job.
The show was tight and with each bass drop the audience seemed to pat themselves on the back for having made a good decision to show up early. The venue was packed from the get go and as we reached changeover I found it hard to believe punters were still milling through the door.
Intervals’ soundcheck seemed to pump the audience even more. Each drum hit amped the level of excitement and the crowd cheered as the guitarist warmed up with a lick from The Simpsons theme song. By this time people were standing on lounges, on stairs, even on fucking walls in an attempt to see the stage. When they said sold out, they meant it.
Finally the curtain opened and Intervals’ intro played followed by instrumental, progressive worldly goodness. Imagine Santana with double kicks, only Canadian. I’ve never seen a crowd nod its head so in sync. It was like a flash mob that also ‘oohed’ and ‘woahed’ with every crazy fill and guitar run. Intervals’ performance was poised and polished and they let the energy of the music flow through them and out into the room.
To cap off the night was Australian guitarist, Plini who has to be this generation’s Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. “Hello Friends” he cooed before launching into their first number, backed by some of Australia’s best session musicians. Plini had the crowd captivated from the first note. There was something special about this Sydney-born native and his music, which had already allowed him to tour the globe. He is very humble in his approach; never showy, but quietly assured. The show felt intimate almost as if we were watching a mate.
As the last note of the first tune ended, Plini and his bassist fist-bumped, which the audience got a kick out of. “This is great,” he said simply. Throughout his set the band explored dynamics and timing, ducking in and out of time signatures with ease. Every musician on stage was mind-blowing which only made me think about the incredible talent we have in Australia.
“This is the part where I normally say funny, awkward shit,” Plini began looking out into the packed house. “But I’m actually lost for words. I recorded most of these songs only half an hour away, and now I’m here.”
Instrumental music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially technical progressive rock that can twist and turn at any moment. But Plini has seemed to modernise this genre, bringing it to a younger audience. I would highly recommend catching his live show if you can.
Plini’s new album, Handmade Cities’ is out now.