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Polar Bear Club with Go Rydell

Rocketown

Pompano Beach, FL

September 10, 2011

On a weekend associated with so much sadness [9/11], locals found their escape at Rocketown on September 10th. With a line wrapping around the corner of the venue, the atmosphere was ever so welcoming as local opening act Go Rydell’s Nick Noble walked in victoriously from a pre-show dodgeball game. As the stampede of adolescents rushed into the two-story venue, you could hear their stampeding up the stairs and feel their giddiness as they received their entry bracelets.

Go Rydell took the stage. Their electric opening was devoured by their faithful friends cheering them on. This is a band near and dear to my heart and every time I see them, they’re better than before. The band’s songs were perfect, you’d never know that fifteen minutes before their act vocalist Chris Scaduto was chugging a drink to ease his sore throat. After their set, Scaduto shouted out to everyone, “we’re fortunate to have a home away from home in South Florida and if it wasn’t for our friends, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing”.

Next up was Make Do and Mend. The crowd hurled together as the band broke out into their layered songs led by James Carrol’s stern, raspy vocals. With solid 16-note patterns on the drums from Matt Carrol, it’s easy to see why this band is unstoppable. The fans bounced up and down eagerly as the band played one of their newer tracks, “Coats,” and fan favorite, “Shambles.” The crowd’s response was magical due to the band’s driven passion that was expressed through their music.

The venue’s capacity seemed to have reached its max since people were scattered across air hockey tables and sitting on top of the arcade games that embellish the venue, just to get a view of this massive show.

Trailing next was Balance and Composure. The venue’s capacity seemed to have reached its max since people were scattered across air hockey tables and sitting on top of the arcade games that embellish the venue, just to get a view of this massive show. Balance and Composure took an oath with their honorable respect to grunge era music, playing harsh melodic bass and distorted guitars. Both Jonathan Simmons’ and Andrew Slaymaker’s vocals and ambient guitars were flawless.

Eagerness grew as Fireworks took the stage, playing multiple songs off of their album Gospel. It was apparent to the band that the crowd loved their new collaboration, which caused all the band mates to say “We love Florida” during their performance. Their set was energetic and full of craze as they played “Arrows” and “The Wild Bunch.” They ended their set with “When We Stand on Each Other We Block Out the Sun.” inviting everyone on the stage.

Lastly, headliners Polar Bear Club took the stage. It had been a while since these boys last came to town and it was apparent that the visit was overdue. Jimmy Stadt’s familiar feisty appeal illuminated the venue as the band performed new songs such as “Screams in Caves.” The band’s newest edition, Tyler Mahurin, slammed down on the drums solidly and the guitars dueled in octaves, the crowd’s hands clapping throughout their upbeat songs. The band mates jumped across the stage to every beat as the spectators sang in unison. After a bit of a battle with laryngitis on the road, Stadt commented on how good it felt to be able to sing again as they played older favorites such as “Burned Out in a Jar,” “Convinced I’m Wrong,” and finally fan favorite, “Most Miserable Life.”

This was a cruel night for many bands since it meant defeating colds they were battling with throughout most of the tour already, but for the crowd it meant getting into a show with not two, three or four, but five headlining worthy bands on one stage. This was a night everyone will truly treasure forever.

Review and Photos by Emily Bloch

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