Polar Bear Club / Fireworks - live in Greensboro (Cover Artwork)

Polar Bear Club / Fireworks

live in Greensboro (2011)

live show

I arrived at Greene St. last night with very high hopes. In support of their new record, Clash Battle Guilt Pride, Polar Bear Club have assembled one of the finest tour packages of the year and I was beyond excited to check it out. This was my second time at Greene St. and it still stands as one of the nicest buildings I've seen a show in. Complete with a disco ball and a stripper pole in the green room, it was quite a departure from the usual DIY venues I go to. But it was a nice change of pace.

Local opener (I can't remember their name) kicked off the show with what sounded like a recycled version of Set Your Goals's first EP, with a vocalist who wanted to be in a post-hardcore band. It wasn't very good. They played a short set and then we were on to Make Do and Mend.

This was my second time seeing these guys live and I was beyond excited to see them again. They had a similar set as the last time I saw them but added in a few more songs off last year's End Measured Mile and changed some of their song-to-song transitions for the better. They blew through their set with little talking between songs. They did have a short break when the lead singer/guitarist broke a string during "Winter Wasteland", but he handled it pretty smoothly. Overall a great start to the show.

Set list:

  1. Oak Square
  2. Transparent Seas
  3. Unknowingly Strong
  4. Thanks
  5. Shambles
  6. Winter Wasteland
  7. Night's the Only Time of Day
  8. Firewater

Then it was onto Balance and Composure. I had seen them in the same room just a few months earlier with the Dear Hunter and dredg, and this time they seemed so much more confident. Maybe because they were a better fit on this tour, or maybe it was because people were actually there to see them this time, but either way they were in their element. The singer even told the crowd to "bang their fucking heads" before "Galena". They mainly stuck with songs off their new record, Separation, but did play a couple off the immensely popular split with Tiger's Jaw after a little audience encouragement (I may have shouted it out a couple times). Highlight of the set for me was the transition from "Burden" to a much longer version of "Void". Very cool change-up.

Set list:
  1. Quake
  2. Galena
  3. Stonehands
  4. Burden
  5. Void
  6. Twenty Four
  7. I Tore You Apart in My Head

This was also my second time seeing Fireworks this year and I have to say they fit so much better in the supporting slot than they did as headliners. Since I saw them in May, they've added in a keyboardist which gives them an interesting new layer. Also, the vocalist's voice sounded so much better this time around. Fireworks had no problem taking their time between songs and even played the first couple of lines of "The Impression That I Get" during their stage banter. I was a little disappointed that the set list was mainly made up of songs off their new record, Gospel. I would say the rest of the audience felt the same because you could almost feel the energy pick up during the tracks from 2009's All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion. Even though they didn't play as many of my favorite tracks, it sounded much better and completely changed my view of them as a live band.

Set list (some of these may be out of order):
  • Arrows
  • The Wild Bunch
  • Teeth
  • Summer
  • Detroit
  • We're Still Pioneers
  • Geography, Vonnegut and Me
  • Oh Why Can't We Start Old and Get Younger
  • X's on Trees
  • When We Stand in Each Other's Arms We Block Out the Sun

    Finally, the main event, Polar Bear Club. These guys showed why they were the headliners right from the get-go with the energy they brought to the stage and to the crowd. They opened with a four-song block with a song from every one of their releases, including their then-forthcoming one, Clash Battle Guilt Pride. They seemed to favor Sometimes Things Just Disappear, which was a bit of a disappointment to me as a big Chasing Hamburg fan, but the set was so fun I couldn't complain. The vocalist mentioned his voice was kind of shot, but I really couldn't hear it and it just made mic shares more plentiful, which in turn got the crowd even more pumped. Unfortunately, they did cut their set a couple songs short, but as an apology they gave away their banners for free which was a very nice move on their part. During the last track, "Most Miserable Life", I started off the stage diving (living up to my username!). Even though it was a couple of songs short I don't think anyone in the room was unsatisfied with their performance.

    Set list:
    1. Eat Dinner, Bury the Dog, and Run
    2. Screams in Caves
    3. Election Day
    4. Light of Local Eyes
    5. Burned Out in a Jar
    6. Parked in the Parking Lot of Your Heart
    7. Our Ballads
    8. Bug Parade
    9. Living Saints
    10. Most Miserable Life

    Overall, it was one of the best shows I have ever attended with a great lineup of bands. Any of these bands would have been good by themselves, but together they were simply wonderful.