Tuesday, 3 August 2010

393 POLAK, Lear, Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach, Monday 7 December 1998

A minor first for me, in that this was the first gig I attended, having found about it on the Internet! The Polak website touted this one, so off did Clive and I trot, parking at this backstreet venue, between Cardiff Castle and the current building site that will eventually become the National Stadium in renovated form, at 9 pm. Had to become "members" of this well-appointed upstairs venue to gain entrance. Apparently this means I can now support their stated aim to promote the Welsh language. Hmmm.

Anyway, a local (Blackwood) band Lear entertained us at 9.45, with a jolly set of up-tempo, well-constructed powerpop with a 60's feel to it. The mod revival revival starts here?

Polak took the stage at 10.45, all dressed in black, with ex Adorable vocalist Pete (Piotr) Fijalkowski eschewing his former "Hopkirk (deceased)" white jacket in favour of black suit and polo neck. Going on their singles output to date, they could have been stripped-back yet brilliantly haunting pop, or dour yet interesting balladry. Which Polak would we get?

Thankfully it was the former, and they were bloody great. "Storm Coming" was a haunting and soaring early highlight, and even single "I'm Sick", disappointing on record, came across very well. During one ants-in-your-pants rickety rhythmic number, Pete jumped offstage to join Clive and myself dancing down the front, then grabbed Clive for a careering tango around the venue!

A final "Outta My Sky" was all raw passion and in-your-face guitar work, which suggested that Polak hopefully have one delicious album in the pipeline. We congratulated Pete afterwards, and hit the road at 11.30, deciding against staying for unremarkable local headliners Ether. We'd seen a set full of nascent promise from a man unencumbered by past lack of success. So, Polak; not Adorable, but certainly adorable!

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