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CITY CALM DOWN @ Metropolis Fremantle gets 8/10


City Calm Down @ Metropolis Fremantle
w/ Woodes & The Spring Peaks
Saturday, June 16, 2018

8/10

It’s been a big couple of years for Melbourne boys City Calm Down. A successful run of singles led up to the release of their stellar sophomore album Echoes In Blue earlier this year, and they’ve backed it up with plenty of gigs and festival slots around Australia and Europe. They’re a band that are coming into their own, and seem on the cusp of breaking into the big time on the international stage. All of this and more was on display as they blew the roof off Metropolis Fremantle on Saturday night, playing their best set yet in WA.

After impressive performances at Laneway and Falls Festival, it was great to finally see City Calm Down headline their own club set and really define the nature of their show. From the cool backdrop and dark and moody light show, soaked in reds and blues that occasionally exploded into strobes, to the brass section multi-instrumentalists—this was an event.

Starting the night very early on around 6:15 pm were Perth’s own The Spring Peaks who warmed up the stage with their infectious brand of rockin’ guitar tunes and cruisey surf-rock vibes.

Fellow Melbournian Woodes was up next in support with her quirky blend of pop, channeling elements of London Grammar, Bjork and Grimes with some polished production.

It’s a shame Metropolis insists on putting bands on at ridiculously early times on Saturday nights due to their 10pm cut-off when they turn the venue into a nightclub. It means a lot of people miss out on some great supports and some good bands miss out on the opportunity to perform to a sizeable crowd on a big stage.

Even having a headline act come on at 8:30 pm seems bizarre and too early for a rock ‘n’ roll show, but by the time that came around, the club was packed with dedicated CCD fans. They didn’t open the upstairs balcony area, but the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd created a great atmosphere, and the group didn’t waste any time making the most of it.

City Calm Down

City Calm Down came out of the gates blazing with two of the most rocking new album tracks Distraction/Losing Sleep and big single Blood featuring surprisingly early in the set, with Jack Bourke really belting it out as he prowled the stage. The volume was cranked and the band packed a real punch live, with a heavy rhythm section, soaring guitar and synth creating a formidable wall of noise.

The chugging title track of their debut album In A Restless House took things down a notch, before the incredibly epic Blame, that starts off very minimal and sparse before building to a huge ending with Bourke’s incredible voice unleashed.

Pride sounded great when the two-piece horn section kicked in, and the brooding synths and thundering rhythms of Falling were a highlight. Jeremy Sonnenberg is an amazingly tight bass player and he stood centre stage, just behind the more dynamic Bourke. While stationed on a platform to the left, fenced in behind three keyboards, Sam Mullaly provided their distinct synth sound.

City Calm Down

Despite their intense presence and epic tendencies, the band have a real down to earth vibe, demonstrated in Bourke’s awkward banter and cup of tea in one hand. One of the finest moments on the new record, the opening track Joan, I’m Disappearing sounded even better live with a bit more of a loose vibe. One of the best early singles Rabbit Run also got a huge response.

City Calm Down finished the set with Your Fix another big track from their debut LP, pausing towards the end for dramatic effect before kicking back into the song for a triumphant finale.

The amazing thing was how quickly an hour and a half seemed to fly by—they’re a band that captivate and get you involved in their music, with each song another gripping, dramatic chapter in the performance. Much of this is to do with lead singer Jack Bourke’s ability to mesmerise with his powerful voice that shifts between a low growl akin to The National’s Matt Berninger to huge, soaring, operatic peaks.

City Calm Down

Following deafening applause, the group returned to the stage for an encore of their spacey, majestic new album closer Echoes In Blue, followed by a suitably raucous rendition of their brilliant single In This Modern Land that saw Bourke throwing his lanky frame around the stage, while shaking the microphone menacingly.

While they craft fine albums, City Calm Down are really one of those bands that are in their element live, infusing their songs with electric energy, and they seem to improve on every tour. Surely it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on.

ALFRED GORMAN

Photos by Linda Dunjey

City Calm Down

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