Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé article
coverpic flag Canada - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 15 - 01/12/98

Poledo (plus others)
The Rivoli - December 17th 1997  

It was a dark but not stormy night, and Poledo, masters of Toronto's live scene were ready to play their last Rivoli gig. It was Wednesday December 17th 1997, the last Toronto date of the "Hot Lunch Tour", put on by teenage USA. The line-up for these shows was heavy: Smallmouth, Poledo and Pecola. All the sort of bands who could bash your face in with the sheer power of the sounds they made. It would be a night to recover from for ear-ringing days.

The show started at around 10 PM. Smallmouth opened to an average-sized crowd, but by the end of the the room were bursting with local Toronto musicians, who had come to see the second last Toronto show Poledo would ever play. Smallmouth played well, they rocked, they rolled, but could hardly be acknowledged in light of what would come after.

OK, yeah so I'm biased, sue me. Poledo are one of the best live bands ever. When they play you can feel the music like some kind of force-field pushing you hard, but sucking you in at the same time, and it's outstanding. I pity anyone who has not had the opportunity to see them at the Rivoli, their natural habitat for sure, for they are often listed as "Rivoli favorites", because of how they frequent the coolest club in town. This being one of the last times I would ever see them rawk, I must say, I was mighty choked up, anxious and excited all that day. When Poledo took the stage, it was time for absolute attention.

They started with Girlboy, one of Josh's new songs. This is one of many new songs that was supposed to be recorded on the new album, which is now not going to happen. From the very first moment they started to play they hit with full force. Each note was pounded out like an angry fist pounds the door of a sleaze. Girlboy faded with a generous hint of guitar freak-outs to come. Next came Pedestal, an old live-favorite, never released on anything, but very familiar to the people who filled that crowded room. With rabid whooshing and suspenseful squeaking, screaming and banging and booming, they showed us what they are made of. After a slight calm, they rushed right into End o World, the song about "how one day there is going to be too many people in the world, and then ..... is no going to happen" (or at least so said Johnny Poledo at the Elmocombo). It begins very softly and pleasantly, and then builds in that unique Poledo way, creating and releasing tension all the way along. Josh's deep, droning vocals interrupting each rising tension nicely, almost as if he was exerting restraint on the rest of the band with the sound of his voice, and surely there were times it seemed they were going to explode.

Gold started and finally we feel the essence of Poledo, with both Josh and Mitch pouring out vocals. Josh's voice giving that awesome gravely sound, and Mitch screaming passionately and ear-piercingly. At some point during this song I noticed the girl beside me was dancing like a fool. Hey, whatever makes her enjoy the show is fine with me I guess. The next song was a new(er) Mitch song, Somethin' Or Nothin'. There was a bit of a screw up going into that, but once they got going with that wicked song, there was no looking back. I think the nicest thing about Poledo songs is how they bash your face in, but move you at the same time. The music is really fascinating and interesting, not just rah rah rah I'll bash yr face in rah rah rah. This particular song also has a lovely melody to it, but it still has those great dynamics, and speed changes, that make Poledo rawk so hard! I'm not sure if it was this song, but I think it was, where Dave actually pounded a hole right through one of his drums, and had to turn it over.

Next was one of my favorite new songs, Digest. I like the ones that start of heavy the best. I think I just can't handle the tension of the really intense buildups or something, but this one still manages to go from heavy to SUPER speedy-heavy, but it still pauses just to get you all excited again when it builds up again. When Poledo do those little pauses and Mitch's guitar does those restrained little honks, it's like your body is an elastic stretched to the limit and you think you are just going to snap if they don't let you fly. Feel Well thumped its way into our ears next, another newer song, a Josh song I believe, by this point in the set there were some serious balls of sweat on the Poledo faces. Herskin, off the More Of Our Stupid Noise Compilation, came next, I thought it was kind of strange because they usually play this song or Two Words near the beginning of the set, but this time they were both near the end. What can I say? This song is amazing, much like Digest in its power over me. With this song the tension reached a high, but it seemed to end a little too suddenly or something. They switched Two Words with Waste, the request of an audience member, so they now began to play To Words from the 7" split with Hayden, released last summer. This song is also incredible, and the power it emits off of the stage and into the audience is mind-blowing. I almost cried during this song. I liked it so much, the ending was great.

The last song of the set was Waste, another new song (I think they are just trying to torture us by not putting out a new album). The song was sad, and beautiful. I think the band too were perhaps being choked up a bit by the situation, and that feeling came through in the music. The really intense parts of this song, hit hard, like ice cold water on the face, Mitch's guitar echoed the sounds of his screams, and the air itself shook with Josh's bass and Dave's drums. The end of the song wrung with guitar noise, the most psychotic drum banging I've ever heard in my life, and a thank you from the band.

Poledo's last show will be Sunday January 25th 1998 at club Shanghai in Toronto, all-ages with By Divine Right.

Copyright © 1997 Laura Bowman e-mail address

© 2011 Luna Kafé