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Polarcode Delivers Arena Show to Subterranean Print E-mail
Written by GREG DORN   
Thursday, 14 February 2013
When Polarcode takes the stage, they do so with the burning intent of blowing your mind. A far cry from your typical rock set, this quartet of daring and innovative musicians want you walking away having experienced a musical spectacle of epic proportions. A rock ‘n roll band sans the guitar, their sound revolves around eccentric keyboard arrangements, tribal drum beats and soaring vocals tailor-made for arena rock shows.

Polarcode


Subterranean
Chicago, IL
February 8, 2013
Commanding the stage like a musical laboratory, each band member works their respective axe in flawless unison. They’re pure scientists up there, constructing their brand of rock/pop gems that mirror the likes of Coldplay or U2 with a harder, alternative edge. The band approaches their shows with a work ethic unlike any live act I’ve seen. As Polarcode delve into their majestic set Friday at Chicago’s Subterranean, it became immediately evident the band came ready to put in some overtime.

Performing as the headlining act, the set began around 11:30pm, almost an hour later than listed on the bill. Polarcode quickly satisfied the restless crowd, kicking things off with the high-speed rocker “Out of Control.” Sounding a bit like Soundgarden a la their Superunknown days, the band sucked in the mostly indie-looking crowd and didn’t relent until the last note echoed throughout the multi-level yet intimate venue.

Much like Radiohead on 1997’s OK Computer, Polarcode prides themselves on creating a plethora of different sounds and styles to convey the reluctance of technological advancements. The band expresses their 21st century angst with a schizophrenic attitude, sounding melancholic one moment and completely upbeat the next. Following the frantic confessions of “Out of Control,” Polarcode showed off their songwriting chops with the catchy and melodic “Ride of My Life.” Lead singer Rob Knapik’s soaring vocals could have put the tune on a U2 set list while touring stadiums. Again switching gears faster than the crowd could keep up, “Fight Like a Million” served as a rebellious war cry with booming, tribal-like beats that fell somewhere in between Green Day punk and ‘90s grunge.

On the next number “Lights,” Polarcode truly showed off their signature sound of rich, melodic songs centered around the keyboard arrangements of Eric Stang. Without a doubt the driving force behind the band’s incendiary sound, Stang is nothing short of a wizard at the helm of his musical control center. Creating noises that defy what you thought a keyboard was capable of, Stang doesn’t just tickle the ivories, he attacks them. The piano man’s furious drive and energy keeps him on his feet as he kills his 3-layered keyboard set, creating a futuristic alternative sound on Polarcode’s hard-rocking “Supernatural.” Displaying his astonishing versatility, Stang ditches his station for the keytar on the song “Brothers,” erasing any corniness you felt about rock’s most lampooned instrument.

On the theatrical “Drum Jam,” Polarcode puts on a stage show marvel worthy of Broadway. In a complete frenzy, Stang bolts to the drum set, drummer Mario Cerutti darts to an electric drum kit and all hell brakes loose. It was every instrument for themselves as the band dazzled the crowd in a marathon jam session that knocked you on your ass. It was Polarcode at their finest; unconventional experimentation. Somehow, it just worked.

By 1am, the show came to a close. And when I say show, I mean it in every sense of the word. Polarcode doesn’t merely play rock ‘n roll, they eagerly treat you to a musical experience that will have you yearning for more. Chicago is filled with a countless number of talented bands and musicians. The crowd at Subterranean had the pleasure of witnessing perhaps the most unique, courageous and innovative band on the scene today.

Comments
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Written by Guest on 2013-02-17 21:57:32
I was at this show and it was truly phenomenal. They are an amazing group of musicians and I can't wait to say that I saw them before they hit it big.
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