City Calm Down fires up The Gov

A moonlit Gov played host to Melbourne electronic four-piece City Calm Down on Saturday night, and boy, I don’t even know where to start. Met by the sultry sounds of Adelaide electronic trio SKIES on the way into the venue, this was always going to be one hell of a gig.

The ever-approachable natives brought the crowd closer throughout their set, the highlights of which being a stirring cover of Feist’s—and ultimately James Blake’s—‘Limit To Your Love’, and of course SKIES breakout single ‘Speed Boy’, as well as a taste of some of the music these lads have on the way.

The Adelaidians then made way for Melbourne grunge-pop songstress Ali Barter, who’ll no doubt soon be headlining shows of a similar calibre.

Having supported bands like The War On Drugs, Cloud Control and The Rubens, the young singer-songwriter is no stranger to warming up a big crowd, and that’s what she did – almost to boiling point.

Closing out with her Triple J-adored hit ‘Far Away’, she left the almost-full house at The Gov absolutely buzzing.

A short, impatient wait for the main event ensued, drinks were bought, toilet stops were made; we weren’t going to miss a minute of this one.

…And there they were.

The black-clad, unassuming Melbournians took the stage coolly, before seemingly out of the very walls came “Like a rat in a cage, I’m easily satisfied…”

From that moment on, we were smitten, hypnotised, mesmerised.

That oh-so unforgettable baritone sent the heaving mass of bodies into a frenzy, and with a swing of the mic, we were off.

After ‘Wandering’, the hits just kept on coming; you know the one-two punch? Well, this was about a one-two…ten punch.

The CCD staples, ‘Pleasure and Consequence’, ‘Border On Control’ and the 2015 album track ‘In A Restless House’ had not lost any of their charm since the band’s April appearance at Fat Controller.

‘Son’ gained a whole new feel live on stage, rising and falling with the addition of a horn section that included a trumpet and a sax.

I must say, though, the absolute highlight for me was a cover of The Smiths 1984 hit single ‘This Charming Man’ which was as unexpected as it was infallible.

A flourishing finish—or so we thought—saw the band’s two most recognisable songs, ‘Rabbit Run’ and ‘Your Fix’ performed back-to-back in a raucous singalong that had the entire crowd in full voice.

The band thanked us, wholeheartedly, harmonising Ali Barter’s proclamation earlier in the evening that “Sydney’s shit, Tasmania’s pretty good, but Adelaide is the best city to play”.

They departed to chants of “ONE MORE SONG” that seemed to go on for an age; it was surely fruitless, as City Calm Down does not play encores…

I think it’s safe to say the band fell in love with us almost as much as we fell in love with it, because lo-and-behold the sweaty, battle-hardened, black clad heroes re-emerged once more.

Taking some time to return to the stage in full, the crowd patiently waited for the mystery song about to be played.

If I could choose two covers to hear at just about any gig, provided they’re not butchered, they’d be the aforementioned ‘This Charming Man’ and just about anything by David Bowie.

I think the boys from City Calm Down must be pretty good mind readers, because that’s just what they did; the perfect evening was concluded with a flawless, jubilant rendition of ‘Let’s Dance’ in what can only be described as a celebration of great music by Australia’s musical future.

I can’t fault this gig, try as I might, and I’m sure I’m not alone in my praise. Here’s hoping our newest adopted sons’ love affair with Adelaide is one long-lived.

Cover photo: The Gov

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