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Live Review: City Calm Down

13 June 2018 | 1:41 pm | Darren M. Leach

"Bourke was restricted on this smallish stage, sharing it with six other musicians."

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Melbourne four-piece City Calm Down have recently dropped album number two, Echoes In Blue and hit The Gov in Adelaide to showcase it. 

10.30pm chimed, the lights dimmed and the pre-gig music came to a halt. As the crowd cheered, seven dark forms entered the stage. They ripped straight into Distraction/Losing Sleep from the new album. The heavy synths already filled the room and set us up for a great Saturday night out.

Blood, also off the new album, was up next. This track has been out for a while having been released as a single a year ago, so the crowd were well versed in it and fans down the front danced away to it. Singer Jack Bourke acknowledged this by propping his foot up on the foldback speaker and extending his arm into the crowd in true rock'n'roll style.

A couple of 'oldies' were aired next including Pleasure & Consequence from their 2012 Movements EP. The new songs such as Blame slotted in seamlessly with this older material.

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Officially a four-piece, tonight we got the full package of seven members with the addition of a guitarist, saxophonist and trumpeter. This reviewer found the sax and trumpet a bit low in the mix and drowned out by the synths.

Pride, a highlight from their new album, got an early airing in the set. We were taken on a journey and got lost in the haunting synths and Bourke's hypnotic dulcet tones, only to snap out of it when the song concluded and cheering occurred. Give us more!

The gentleness to Joan, I'm Disappearing came at a perfect time to allow for a bit of respite for both crowd and band. The song was also perfect chance to really listen to Bourke's unparalleled baritone. All of City Calm Down's songs are built around Bourke's vocals and Sam Mullaly's synths, which complement each other perfectly.

Rabbit Run and Your Fix rounded off the main set. Both these songs are among the band's most-played tracks on Spotify and they emulate everything about City Calm Down's sound: dark yet energetic and synth-heavy, with brooding vocals and an '80s new-wave/post-punk vibe.

After a quick encore break they returned to conclude the show with two songs, Echoes In Blue and In This Modern Land, which featured heavy strobes.

Overall this was a great show, but it just lacked some energy. Bourke was restricted on this smallish stage, sharing it with six other musicians, and therefore couldn't prowl around too much.