A two-hour drive from Buffalo would bring me to a local Syracuse venue that I have been dying to go to for years. The Spark Contemporary Art Space was home to the night’s killer line-up of Chamber, Varials, Polaris, and the headliner, Gideon. As I walked up to the venue, I could feel the excitement in the air as the crowd headed outside to catch their breath after the Nashville natives, Chamber, opened the night. Unfortunately, I missed Chamber’s set which is very unlike me. I always have to be there to see the opening bands, but the extra-long drive put me at a disadvantage. It was not long after I entered the venue that the next band, Varials, started to sound check and the fans began to pour back into the intimate venue. By the time Varials took to the stage, the floor was properly packed with an empty pit in front of the stage. Once the first note was struck that empty pit went to good use. The hardcore boys from Philadelphia left it all on the stage and were not at all shy to the overwhelmingly positive response from the local Syracuse scene. Lead vocalist, Travis Tabron, made use of the stage as he jumped and climbed on the speakers next to it. Overall, Varials put on a very impressive set that the crowd loved every bit of, and I look forward to seeing them as support on the Counterparts “Private Room” tour.
Above: Travis Tabron of Varials
Up next was Polaris who came all the way from Australia, I have been following this band for a while and was especially excited for their set. Their set was super tight and every bit as energetic as I would expect from them. Lead singer, Jamie Hails, even made use of the floor as he was backed by his band on the raised stage behind him. However, despite the clean and heavy set that Polaris would put on, the crowd was not as into it as I had expected. Now, this was absolutely nowhere near “crickets” by any means, but the crowd definitely seemed a little lackluster. I think this was due to the fact that the other three bands that night had a more hardcore sound, and Polaris is definitely more metal-core than hardcore. In my opinion, Polaris will have a much better response as support on the upcoming Parkway Drive “Reverence Tour”.
Above: Jamie Hails of Polaris
Finally, the headliner on the evening…Gideon. I have seen Gideon before and went in expecting great things (hence the reason I drive the two hours to cover the show). Even more people would pack into the small venue as Gideon took to the stage. Daniel McWhorter experienced mic difficulties during the beginning of their opening song “Freedom” off their latest album Cold. However, as a true professional, he grabs another mic and continues to sing along not skipping a beat. During the few moments of the vocal difficulties you almost couldn’t tell due to the crowd screaming every word. Gideon went on to play a passionate set from start to finish, giving it their all. I think the high point for the crowd (and for me personally) was the second to last song Cursed. Unfortunately, the crowds demand for “one more song” were left unmet as Gideon left the crowd hungry for more.
Above: Daniel McWhorter of Gideon
Overall, I thought this was an amazing show, and I have nothing but positive things to say about all the bands performance. This show had everything I could have wanted and more, and my first experience at the Spark Contemporary Art Space was definitely positive. I can’t wait see some of these bands in the fall and as always, long live hardcore.