The reformation of Polvo back in 2008 was certainly one of the quieter landmark moments of the last decade but it was no less important for all it’s apparent subtlety. Picking up where they left off 10 years previously, the four men from North Carolina played a bunch of gigs, released a stunning album and generally carried on as if they never stopped being the most impressive guitar band of the last 20 years. Their brief stopover in Dublin is their first ever visit here and the room is packed with both long-time fans and those somewhat newer to the fold.
At this stage in their career it would be easy for a band like Polvo to essentially run a few victory laps and disappear off into the nostalgic distance but there’s not even a hint of complacency tonight. They come out all guns blazing, straight into ‘Feather of Forgiveness’. They’re effortless on stage, flying through immensely complicated material with a nonchalance only truly confident musicians possess. There’s no bombast, no posturing. Hell, they barely even look up. But it matters not a jot, these songs are classics through and through. To hear them played with all the tenacity and power they have is all you need, no fancy light show or charming stage banter required.
Highlight of the night comes with the encore and pure distillation of all that is good about progressive punk rock; ‘Tilebreaker’. As close as the band have to a hit, the song is still as vital as it was way back in 1993. Jammed with ideas, constantly shifting and changing, it packs so much into two minutes it’s almost hard to comprehend. It’s everything Polvo are and the perfect example of why they remain a hugely important band. It may have taken 20 years to get them onto our island, let’s hope it doesn’t take another 20 to get them back.
Photos: Loreana Rushe