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Live Review: Polar Bear Club, Shook Ones, Title Fight, The Arteries, Harbour - Newport, 17/02/10.

A five band bill tonight promises to deliver plenty of stage dives and sing-a-longs. First Harbour, a hardcore five-piece from Cardiff reminiscent of Dag Nasty and Minor Threat, then The Arteries, native to Swansea and playing a fairly heavy punk with diverse influences.

After this lovely Welsh starter, it's young prodigies Title Fight's turn to show what they're capable of, and with no surprise, they're capable of a lot. Their set puts everyone on the same wavelength: fat bearded guys with flannels, pin punks, emo nerds or hardcore kids, everyone seemed to be under the spell of the four kids from Kingston. Hit after hit, the pit goes up in flames for the band's melodic hardcore numbers, opening with the monumental 'Memorial Field' and its anthology breakdown, without forgetting the excellent 'Symmetry', and the desperate 'Evander'. Slow or fast, these kids rock hard and yet seem to be the humblest guys in the world, on the verge of shyness. Overall a great set that confirms, only good things can happen to this band. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Next band on the bill is Seattle-based Shook Ones. Playing a fast and well unsurprising, set list that combines a few tracks from the latest album 'The Unquotable A.M.H.' with the previous records' classics; to the delight of the fans in the room. The guys have experience, you can tell and they also look very happy to play their very first date in Wales ever. A fairly exciting performance that definitely finishes to get everyone hyped up.

Polar Bear Club have managed to build a good reputation, by being signed to Bridge Nine, released two albums and one EP to a fair amount of fame. It's easy to see, when the audience is singing every word of opener 'Living Saints'. The other hits will follow, in a well-balanced mix of the band's releases, the crowd being more familiar with their older material. Surprisingly, no 'Election Day', but a cover of Jimmy Eat World's 'Lucky Denver Mint' as first encore song, by singer Jimmy Stadt alone with a guitar, a big smile on his face. It's 'Most Miserable Life' that will put an end to this night on a huge sing-along: "The redder, the better, lose your voice and make it hurt, reluctance, reserve, refuse these things, cause it's time to sing". Some words that sum up quite well tonight's show.

Words by Romain Jeanticou
Edited by Sean Reid

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