Caroline Polachek sold out two nights in a row in London on her comeback in England
after the lockdown… and her show was mind-blowing!
By Sara Valle-Martinez
On the 12th of March 2020, Caroline Polachek played in London’s gay bar Heaven. People joked that she ‘opened the gates of Heaven’. To be fair, she played like it was the last concert on Earth. A few days later, England went into full lockdown along with the rest of the world.
Caroline Polachek @ Roundhouse in Chalk Farm 28/10/2021. Picture Credit: Sara Valle-Martinez
A couple of days after the gig, she urged all her Instagram followers to check for Covid symptoms. Polachek herself fell ill and stayed in England to quarantine. It was the start of a long period of lockdowns, mask-wearing, lots of hand sanitiser and restrictions for everyone.
Last month – the 27th of October, to be exact – was the New York singer’s first concert back in England. Not only did she manage to sell out Islington Assembly Hall, but she also sold out another concert in the Roundhouse in less than an hour.
During the concert she said that she remembered hiking with her sister, standing right in front of a cliff, mentioning how fast the tickets sold out. “It was what kept me going,” she admitted to the crowd.
The people queuing up were as excited as she was. “I’m so ecstatic that I’m finally going to see her after such a long time. It’s been like, I don’t know, like two years since I last went to a concert?” said attendee Marco Giannoni, a 30-year-old creative producer.
The venue staff checked the vaccination passes of everyone attending the concert in the Islington Assembly Hall, and most people said they trusted that this was enough to ensure their safety during the performance. Having a great night out and supporting the future of the music scene seemed more relevant for those waiting to see Polachek perform.
“I’ve been to two others [concerts] already. I feel comfortable going to them because I’m double vaccinated,” said Hamish Powell, 23, a florist from London.
“At the end of the day, it’s everyone’s choice whether they go to a concert or not. No one is forcing you to go to a concert. So, if you’re worried about it, don’t go. They’re doing all the work they can to make you as comfortable as you can feel about it.”
The crowd coming to see Polachek was very diverse: people all of ages and backgrounds attended the concert. Even Dua Lipa and Bastille’s Dan Smith were present to listen to her hit songs So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings, Hit Me Where It Hurts and Door, among others.
When asked about the song they were most thrilled about, James Sahin, 21, from Reading, said: “Obviously Bunny Is a Rider because everyone loves to be a bunny! But, also, I love I Give Up and Parachute.”
“It’s the ethereal vibe about her as well, the energy on stage and the dancing.”
James Sahin, 21, student.
French singer Marylou Mayniel, better known by her stage name Oklou, was the opening act for Polachek’s show in Roundhouse. She wowed the audience with her debut project, Galore, before Polachek came on stage.
The gig opened with The Gate, followed by Pang, Hit Me Where It Hurts and crowd-pleaser Bunny Is a Rider. Everyone whistled along with the singer before starting to dance frantically to its lyrics.
Polachek’s presence on stage was strong, exuding femininity and power equally. The crowd didn’t stop cheering, trying to reach her high notes and almost synthetic-sounding vocals.
The visuals were undoubtedly stunning, but Polachek would be able to showcase her ability and ethereality even with a stark background and the lights off.
As guest performances, Irish-Chilean singer and producer Sega Bodega played the guitar during Sunset, a new song that has not yet been released. Danny L Harle, the British song producer and composer, played the keyboard during Look At Me Now and Insomnia.
Polachek performed her solo debut album, Pang, almost in its entirety before singing one of the most expected songs: So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings. Everyone mimicked the music video’s choreography and even some brave ones tried to imitate her impressive vocal guitar riff.
Polachek left the stage, teasing the audience, which frantically asked her to come back for a few more songs. During the encore, she delighted them again with her acclaimed song Parachute, which she explained she wrote after a dream. Right after, she welcomed Trinity College’s choir for her last two songs: Billions, which is scheduled to be released next year, and Door.
After the concert, the crowd drifted off to the Tube and kebab shops for a late supper as the singer, her friends and crew headed to King’s Cross The Standard for an after-party before leaving the country the following day. “I’m hangover but extremely happy,” Polachek said on an Instagram story the next morning about “her favourite show to date.”