Quirky, powerful and dynamic by nature, Bad Pollyanna thrive off the conceptualisation of characters and intriguing stories to convey difficult emotions and social taboos. Smashing through stereotypes and seeing the beauty in the world when it is fogged by a seemingly unending amount of hate, the quartet have created a world where people can feel accepted and safe. The setting, a back room of a pub in their hometown of Huddersfield, a fitting metaphor, wouldn’t you agree?
The mingling crowd gathered nonchantly at the back of the glorified garage as supporting acts, Even Vast and As Sirens Fall kicked off the night with very different sets. The former offering a rather heavy, doom filled set while As Sirens Fall brought the mood up a few notches with their brand of sickeningly zingy tunes. While it may seem strange to have bands at very different ends of the spectrum as your supporting acts, Bad Pollyanna‘s style meets somewhere in between and therefore were perfectly complemented by them both.
The fleeting crowd who seemed more interested in drinks and conversation only minutes before suddenly flocked to the stage, the love for this band was evident enough. And so began the intertwining mix of albums ‘Monstrous Child’ and ‘The Broken Toys’, with an eerie echo of synth floating into you ears as the band blasted onstage with ‘Bionic Heart’ with resounding success from their adoring audience. Continuing with their debut album, ‘Awake Now’ and ‘Where Does it Hurt?’ followed with wonderfully catchy choruses and received an equally positive reception.
Easily the highlight of the night was the track dedicated to every single person in that room, and to everyone who has ever been bullied, discriminated or just plain wronged in some way: ‘Define Me’. An anthem for the outcasts, the message spoke so loudly to the crowd, the energy was dying to explode into the adjoining pub and beyond. This preceded firm fan favourites ‘Monstrous Child’, ‘Hollow’ and ‘Create Me’.
The rest of the set pounded rock into your ears and synth into your soul, throughout which vocalist Olivia Hyde nailed every song with her ridiculously enviable range. Before diving into ‘Hooks’, a heavy, ballsy track with driving riffs, Hyde broached the subject of depression and anxiety, the subject matter of the song. This refreshing honesty was wonderful and warranted an enthusiastic applause. Followed by equally heavy track ‘Pull The Trigger’ kept the momentum flowing, their mixture of electro, rock and a lick of metal leaves the perfect combination of flavours on your palette. Before leaving the stage, they cracked out ‘The Broken Toys’ and ‘I See You’ for good measure, but in typical fashion, the night was far from over.
A not so well kept secret was still waiting to envision: guest vocalist and collaborator extraordinaire Adam Crilly [of Ashestoangels] had not yet made an appearance, even though social media had announced it a day earlier. By the not so difficult process of elimination, Crilly bounced onstage for the encore, a belting, epic rendition of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” with Hyde. You couldn’t have written an ending better if you tried.
Ever grateful to all their fans, Bad Pollyanna exclaimed that none of this night would have been possible without them. The feeling of happiness resounded throughout the room, everyone thriving of the exhilarating energy. And even though their live shows are few and far between at the moment, if they put on shows of that magnitude every time, we would be happy to wait a lifetime for the next time Bad Pollyanna played live again.