There’s no smug posing with these two. Polish Club flayed themselves that this crowd might feel something, and we rewarded the effort with a dancefloor that stayed as frenetic as most of the music, fuelled by the dumplings and sausage provided on arrival.
Billed as a career retrospective, this night began with Polish Club playing 2015’s self-titled debut EP in its entirety. It remains a primal masterpiece, Pajak’s drumming wild yet precise, Novak’s guitar balancing thrash with tasty fills, while his voice – Otis Redding cut with Lenny Kravitz, but utterly unique – howled his lovelorn lyrics into our hearts.
This was despite a sound system more accustomed to piping tunes for Polish folk dancing, which after the first set was just what we got. Once the club’s president mopped a section of floor cleared by security, there was a flurry of floral skirts, puffy sleeves and striped trousers performing a sort of courtship ritual, the crowd clapping along in Polish Club’s irony-free spirit.
The feeling of homecoming became stronger in the second set, focused on 2017’s Alright Already album. The band got to Red River Rock and we learnt that Pajak’s dad – who had played accordion on the original, and was a familiar face at this club – had died days before.
Pajak gave the jaunty number such an impassioned performance, he had to have a moment behind his kit after it was over. Tata would have been proud.
After barnstormers like Come Party and soul classic Divided, Polish Club were wise to pick sparingly from this year’s belaboured Iguana album for a third set where the band’s podcast biographer Tom Morgan joined on bass.
Clarity has been honed into dynamism, We Don’t Care was a great escapist bellow, but better was new song Countdown, its dramatic melody evoking New Year’s Eve, an actual countdown adding to this night’s joyful release.