SYN Features: City Calm Down LIVE with IV League and Woodes
CITY CALM DOWN
With IV League & Woodes
LIVE at The Forum June 15th 2018.
Photos by Paul Waxman.
Words by Sally Lewis.
Passes provided by publicists.
In support of their gripping sophomore album Echoes In Blue, Melbourne’s own City Calm Down took to The Forum on Friday 15 June, indulging their hometown crowd to a rousing performance of both serene and electrifying measures.
Kicking off the night, indie rockers IV League took charge of the stage with their catalogue of guitar hazed, pop melodies. IV League utilised their opening slot to entertain and ‘warm up’ the audience who had escaped a typically freezing winter night in Melbourne. Their presence took full effect with the powerful ‘Change My Mind’ and the incredibly catchy new tune, ‘Superstar’.
An atmospherically enchanting synth line and thumping drum beat took over the room as Woodes gilded onto stage donning a dazzling golden cloak. Woodes (the moniker of 24-year-old Elle Graham) charmed the audience with her own style of what could be called celestial electro-pop. Throughout her set Woodes continued to intrigue as she brought on stage three dancers who assisted in interpreting ‘Origami’. Other highlights of the spectral set included ‘Still So Young’ and ‘The Thaw’.
City Calm Down drew in a deservedly large hometown crowd, filling the iconic Forum wall-to-wall with fans old and new. They arrived on stage in their usual (almost) matching black outfits, wasting no time to get the crowd up and about as they launched into ‘Distraction/Losing Sleep’. As fervent as the opener was, whether by a technical issue, the shear power of the live band, or the rowdy audience, Jack Bourke’s vocals were left almost inaudible.
Before continuing on to ‘Blood’, the frontman announced with a cheeky grin, “It’s good to be home”. This defining moment, playing at The Forum, was not lost on the band. Bourke retelling later in their headline set how the band had come together – inspired by a live performance of The Presets’ ten years earlier at the very same venue they themselves were now playing. How incredibly coincidental that The Presets were set to take over the same stage again over the next two nights (click to read SYN’s review of that show here).
With ‘Pleasure and Consequence’ we go back to 2012 with the band taking their long-time fans for a ride of nostalgia. Not long after, a stint of songs from their 2015 debut album In A Restless House gets the crowd, well – restless. Restless in a way that has die-hard fans bustling around, going word-for-word with Jack Bourke, establishing themselves as an enthusiastic supporting choir to songs ‘If There’s a Light On’ and ‘Border on Control’. But it was ‘Son’ that completely took the house down. If you weren’t standing in awe at what you were witnessing, you were in that choir trying to hit the right notes.
Tracks from Echoes in Blue changed the pace of the show, yet continued to electrify. The slightly slower, more composed (yet extremely powerful), ‘Blame’ ‘Decision Fatigue’ and ‘Kingdom’, demonstrated that City Calm Down can take a live show to new heights. Captivating the audience with their unique flair and driving sound that somehow completely fills the room while cutting it to pieces. An example of this comes from opening ‘Joan I’m Disappearing’.Bourke’s vocals, his soaring baritone, felt as if they echoed throughout the room and up to the instantly recognisable blue, starry rooftop of The Forum. Taking Echoes In Blue to its most literal of senses. The four-piece outfit also extended their live band to include trumpets and a saxophone, the brass amplifying and sharpening the gravitation of such tracks as ‘Joan’.
They rounded-out their set with ‘Rabbit Run’, the opening riff sending waves through the crowd who knew what was about to hit them. Truly a song that must be seen live to get a feel for the full force of it. It was another major sing-along moment that lit up both the floor and the stage with band members all visibly smiling and themselves taking in the moment. The room blackens only momentarily after ‘Your Fix’. Who has time to wait for an encore? Straight back to it.
‘Echoes In Blue’ imposes itself onto the room, as things slow down and become completely serene. But it doesn’t take long for the energy to pick itself up again as clapping starts to the opening moments of ‘In This Modern Land’. City Calm Down throw themselves completely into this last song of the night, utilising every inch of the stage. Bourke descends the platform to jump into the front of the crowd, continuing to belt out the closing number.
City Calm Down undoubtedly stopped at nothing to put on a rousing performance. They took their mix of work and cast it into the live space with confidence, passion and intensity. Good thing these fellas are locals because you will definitely want to catch them at their next show.