Words by Kyra-Jade Coombs
Pix by Kaotic Images
You always know when a big gig is on with heavy music as the city is flooded with black band shirts and hordes of fans marching towards the same destination. This was exactly the case on Friday the 15th with Aussie metalcore legends Polaris bringing their Fatalism tour to Brisbane. As far as support bands go, we really were spoilt to have American bands August Burns Red, Kublai Khan and Currents.
Fortitude Music Hall was absolutely PACKED to the brim. The second you walked in the door there were fans everywhere. Downstairs to the entry doors that were permanently fixed open, up each staircase and its surrounds and every square inch in-between. So impressive to see so many people show up, and it instantly elevates your mood knowing that tonight’s energy is going to blow your fucking head off. This was an all-ages show, and I always appreciate seeing kids and teenagers having their first experience at concerts and the sheer look of wonder and awe in their eyes. These little guys are our future in the music industry and this show may very well be the one that fuels their passion.
First to take the stage were Currents. Honestly, it was amazing to see the sheer number of people who were front and center to support the opening band. Hearing Brian Wilie’s voice echo through the hall and seeing everyone stand to attention and sing back at these American legends was cool to watch.
It must be an amazing feeling to fly halfway across the world to have your fans in Australia singing back to you every word of your songs. After unleashing unto the crowd and burning through songs like Into Despair, Monsters and Living in Tragedy the crowd were 100% ready to tear the fucking house down!
Job well done.
Kublai Khan were next up and by fuck do they make an impression right off the bat. Personally, I have been trying/ dying to see these guys for years, and they did not disappoint! The first song off the bat was The Hammer and right away Matt Honeycutt delivered a vocal uppercut to the crowd and whipped them in to a frenzy. One thing I loved about watching Kublai Khan playing live is Isaac Lamb’s ability to absolutely bring to house down with this huge drum sound while simultaneously looking like a groovy 70’s session drummer. Pure magic.
These proud Texans shot off so many funny one-liners and stated ‘We didn’t come here to fuck spiders’, they’ve clearly been around the block (Australia) a few times. After initiating circle pit after circle pit, Honeycutt was out to find the circle pit master AKA El Presidente of the Pit and the crowd took that challenge and ran with it. Literally.
Half of Kublai Khan couldn’t make the show tonight spawning a Thy Art is Murder/Kubai Khan supergroup with Andy Marsh and Sean Delander stepping in to help out which was pretty cool to watch. Kublai Khan’s ability to work the crowd and have everyone barking like dogs is second to none. Come back soon!
After a quick reset, it was August Burns Red’s turn to show us what they’re made of. Jake Luhrs came flying onto the stage with this huge energy starting off with an alpha dog scream that immediately had everyone’s attention, reminding us why they have been kings of metalcore for so long.
You wouldn’t know it with the pure intensity and precision that was shown, but these guys went back to back off their sideline show at the Princess Theatre in Brisbane the night before and came in ready to blow the music hall down.
I was curious to see what their set list was going to shape up like. Personally, I was hoping to hear their classics from my high school days with songs off Constellations and Messengers… and they delivered. We got an amazing show with music spanning from their whole repertoire.
There was a beautiful moment for Mariana’s Trench where the crowd turned on their phone lights and used them in a modern-day equivalent of a ‘ballad candle’. It was a nice contrast for the night and something I was happy to witness seeing everyone get into it.
Couldn’t go without mentioning JB Brubaker absolutely shredding in his pluggers. This is pretty much the closest to ‘Aussie culture’ as we get as a country, besides shoeys, and this means we can practically claim him as one of our own, right?
And finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for… Polaris. As soon as the backdrop lit up that iconic iceberg from Fatalism you could feel the whole crowd’s energy shift, patiently waiting to witness this Australian band who has been through so many highs and lows to be here and bring this show to their fans. Topping the ARIA charts, celebrating 10 years of Polaris and of course losing their beloved brother Ryan Siew will forever shape 2023 for this band and will be something that their peers will respect and never forget.
Opening their set with Harbinger teamed with a mesmerizing circle light show got the crowd captivated, perfectly ushering in a taste of what’s to come. Building up the atmosphere worked perfectly whilst rolling into Nightmare.
The crowd honestly went off chops. I was so taken away by the fact that at this point in time, Fatalism had only been released a week and the whole crowd were screaming these songs back to them like it’s been out for eons. It would be such an amazing feeling to see a project you worked so hard on come to life and be such a success.
It was touching to see the band have their moments together, grabbing hands and giving this smile of, ‘we are doing this together’. Even though Daniel Furnari was far up on his drum throne absolutely throwing down, he was very much so with his bandmates in every moment. Each and every band member was so passionate and fucking nailed their performance. It was special to watch their connection.
We as fans were fortunate enough to share a moment with Polaris in reflection and solidarity, honouring Ryan. “We lost our band mate, we lost our fucking brother. And it hurts”. Everyone in the crowd was requested to shine their light on their phones to bring as much light to the room as possible for Ryan.
There’s not many times you’re invited to share in such a moving moment, and it’s something the crowd won’t be soon to forget. The boys then broke into Martyr (Waves) which couldn’t have been a more perfect fit if you tried.
After building the crowd back up performing a sleuth of songs like Parasites, Consume, Dissipate, Masochist and Inhumane the boys left the stage in a state of virtual embers and smoke leaving the crowd wanting more. To be fair, Polaris couldn’t leave the stage for two seconds without the crowd chanting for more but this time it and worked, and they came back to leave us with two parting gifts in the form of song Pray for Rain and The Remedy.
What an amazing show and a downright honour to be a part of.