City Calm Down – Forum Melbourne / The Tivoli

City Calm Down – Forum Melbourne / The Tivoli

Written by Liam Head at Forum Melbourne

Photos by Zennieshia Butts at The Tivoli

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Homegrown alternative rock band City Calm Down is tonight headlining their first show at Melbourne’s, the Forum, the venue where 10 years ago three of the bands current members attended The Presets and left with aspirations of starting a band.

Supporting the headliners tonight are fellow Melbournians IV Leagueand Woodes, rounding out a completely local lineup. The IV League set is upbeat and fun while their cornerstone trackSuperstar lures you in with the guitar riff and delivers with a punchy chorus delivered by lead singer Bella Venutti, who entertains the audience throughout with a strong vocal performance.

Woodes (the moniker for singer/songwriter Elle Graham) is a graceful performer who brings delicate and tantalizing vocals. Her set includes her Triple J Like a Version cover of Vance Joys Lay It On Me and three contemporary backup dancers during songOrigami. If Graham can continue on her current course she has the chance to become Australia’s version of Aurora Aknes or Hannah Reid.

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By the time City Calm Down are due to hit the stage at 10:30pm, the Forum’s standing area is at capacity with the venues patrons excitedly awaiting the bands appearance. With this years release of Echoes in Blue (2018)to accompany their debut release, In a Restless House (2015) (bothreleased under Australian independent label I OH YOU), the band now has two LPs and one EP under their belt which has results in a  discography full of depth.

It is not long before the band delves straight into their opening track Distraction / Losing Sleep before immediately following withBlood, one of the bands heavier tracks which is fittingly accompanied by a stage lit up with in dark red. The band move quickly through their set and there is no doubt that the band is in their element when Sam Mullaly’s gloomy synth strokes are combined with the deep baritone of frontman Jack Bourke.

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The set at times emanates a battle between good and evil with upbeat songs highlighted by the inclusion of the two man horn section and darker tunes such as Border on Control substituting throughout. Balance is a theme during the bands set with the performance professional without feeling overly rehearsed and confident without being arrogant. Jack is the barometer who’s presence does not rely on lyricism, rather deep vocals and a movement, which replicates a combination of Bill Nighy and Peter Garrett. The emotion within the vocals are no better displayed than on Joan, I’m Disappearingwhere to track moves through themes of vulnerability and loss.

The set ends (pre encore) with Your Fix which provides an evening highlight when the song concludes and the lights go out momentarily before illuminating as the band break out into the familiar chorus with Jack in the crowd and lead guitarist standing on a column off the stage.

Overall the night is a pure crowd pleaser, indicative of three bands playing in front of their home crowd full of friends and family. The crowd continues their applause well past the last song of the evening and sticks around long enough for  the band to take a selfie. There is no doubt that City Calm Down are one of the most polished live acts currently in Australia, their ninety minute set at the Forum displaying their depth and refinement.

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