Mix a sugar and spice configuration of all your favourite musical icons, including The Cure, The National and Joy Division. Put these ingredients into an oven safe bowl and bake it on high, and there emerges City Calm Down a delicious blend of cinematic zest and drama.
The band graced the stage shrouded in an atmospheric blue and red light that brought heightened theatrics to the opening tunes of Distraction/ Losing Sleep. This later was backed up by Blood, where Bourke’s brooding tones submerged the crowd in a nostalgic mood, transcending them to another dimension as if to be greeted by Nick Cave or even David Bowie.
The charismatic front man Jack Bourke fit’s the image of the music he is delivering, with his 1461 iconic Dr Martens paired with high top stripy socks, lanky button down t-shirt and rugged mid-length hair. You’d never have to visit England’s iconic underground music scene again as it manifests in the vocal strength and demeanour of the lead singer. His interactions with the crowd were limited to wisping lopsided grins behind a mug of tea, that later progressed towards a bottle of Gin that only had the crowd further steeped in his charm. All these minute actions gave an impression of genuineness and warmth, which was juxtaposed against the zealousness of their music. You could really feel the passion for music these four men had, which was only further highlighted by Bourke’s traversing of the stage with the lead guitarist.
Bourke belted a selection of songs from Echoes in Blue and older numbers like Rabbit Run and Border on Control. His baritone was dynamic and hypnotic as it fluctuated between upbeat and brooding numbers. Joan, I’m Disappearing was melancholic and rejuvenated the crowd as Bourke took them on a vulnerable journey, with varied layers and textures that left us in a cathartic melancholy as the ballad ended with continuous chants of ‘I’m disappearing, I’m disappearing’. In contrast, Border on Control was a brilliant pastiche of 80’s sync-pop and rock that had the crowd bringing once expired dance moves back to life…or at least I was.
For the encore the band closed with the anthemic In This Modern Land, where Bourke entered the mosh pit, saxophone and horn in the background an exuberating indie rock euphoria that had the crowd in utter glee.