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Polar Bear Club / The New Dress: live in New Yorklive in New York (2007)
Red Leader Records
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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More or less a Red Leader Records showcase, this Knitting Factory basement show was an excellent platter of the lesser known New York-area "punk" (more or less) acts. Jena Berlin was up first, and from seeing them previously I knew to expect a hugely energetic performance, and it's exactly what t.
More or less a Red Leader Records showcase, this Knitting Factory basement show was an excellent platter of the lesser known New York-area "punk" (more or less) acts.
Set list (8:42-9:11):
The New Dress definitely sounded not unlike that of Defiance, Ohio at many points, being a mildly folk-tinged duo comprised solely of a female vocalist and a male electric guitarist/vocalist. Not that they were bad or disgustingly derivative -- far be it. Considering the setup it was surprising they maintained my interest for all 28 minutes, playing straight up, sincere tunes about various political and personal matters, including the first song of their set, "Where Our Failures Are." The "band" had a few of their own fans there for them, singing along happily in unison.
And finally, Polar Bear Club, who have apparently amassed a ridiculous following in the New York City area. At least two to three dozen were packed out in the cramped area and going apeshit to nearly every note, with people occasionally spilling over onto the front of the stage and quickly being assisted to back up on their feet. The band performed wonderfully, nailing every chord right on the head and hitting every beautiful dynamic of their powerful sound. Frontman Jimmy Stadt engaged the crowd every moment, standing on the edge of the stage to a rabid audience shouting along with every lyric as dudes up front dived onto the crowd with the ceiling six inches above their backs. The rest of the band were no slouches, either, energetically thumping on their weapon of choice. The 'other' new song they played was excellent, as one could imagine, while the band talked about how "Our Ballads" references a criticism that "girls wouldn't like [Polar Bear Club]." The disgust of the band's response to such a proposed scenario seems to be justified -- at this very show, the sporadic female could be seen right up front with the beards and beer guts.
Set list (10:59-11:27):
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