10 years of City Calm Down culminated in the band’s biggest hometown show to date at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre.
Warming up the stage while people file into such a grand venue is no easy task, but Woodes was a radiant support act. Her ethereal melodies, backed by throbbing percussion, intrigued the crowd. In a set highlight she was joined by 3 dancers who interpreted ‘Origami,’ a cut from her recent EP Golden Hour.
Playing The Forum is a defining occasion for any Melbourne musician, and the moment was definitely not lost on the headliners. “We saw The Presets here 10 years ago”, frontman Jack Bourke announced to the crowd before filling in the backstory. They ventured to the very same venue to see the iconic electronic duo on their Apocalypso tour, and as he explained, that was the defining moment where they knew they wanted to start a band. “Not to show our age… We were 9 and snuck in.”
The band also revelled in the most incredible coincidence, pointing out to the the crowd that The Presets were playing The Forum again the very next night.
The epitome of ‘good things take time,’ when City Calm Down’s debut album In A Restless House arrived in 2015, their story had already been well-documented. The record was 5 years in the making, written and rewritten, and its completion seemed an impossible task for some time. While it was a little shorter between drinks for 2018’s Echoes In Blue, the instrumental and emotional range covered was akin to their first record. An EP, two standalone singles and one full-length over 10 years have given the band the time and resources to develop their sound and identity. With a massive live show as evidence, City Calm Down are proof that a long term approach to artistry pays off.
There’s no doubt that CCD are an exceptional live band. The electronic element to their music is flawlessly brought to life by Sam Mullaly on keys and synths, while a horns section adds a rhythmic and cinematic edge. ‘Joan I’m Disappearing’ and ‘Son’ as expected packed an emotional punch, before an anthemic final chorus of ‘In A Restless House’ saw the band cut their instruments and stand in silent darkness for 20 seconds.
The set closed on ‘In This Modern Land’, and it was nothing short of massive. Flanked by red waves of LED and strobe lights, lead vocalist Jack Bourke pointed down the centre of the crowd, as if he was parting seas. An undeniably commanding frontman.
It’s exciting to follow a band’s journey over the years. In addition to that, it’s particularly special to see a group like City Calm Down achieving great things after putting in the hard yards for a decade. With music that resonates with all walks of life, it’s surely only up from here.