Review: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever at Rocket Bar

Words by Sam Kolesnik
Photos by Daniel Marks

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If you’ve ever thought to yourself “what are ‘kids’ up to these days?” (which obviously you have as you’re reading an article from a website called Yewth… you’re not fooling me), then this gig was a pretty good starting point. Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have been making huge waves worldwide, particularly for a band whose first recorded material was released just two years prior. Their status as one of Australia’s most promising new bands was cemented late last year as the five-piece were taken up by the legendary Seattle-based label Sub Pop, becoming just the third Aussie band to be signed. Friday saw them begin their tour in support of their new EP The French Press at the venue with Adelaide’s most hazardous staircase, Rocket Bar.

Opening the proceedings was Little Dust, a band whose first material was released two months prior. However, with various members having been involved in the local music scene for quite some time, their experience shone through as they pushed out a cohesive set that seemed to impress the small but increasing crowd. You'd be hard pressed to deny the heavy influence of bands such as Sonic Youth on their sound. They certainly achieved a balance between pop sensibilities and noise experimentation. Unfortunately the venue didn't do them any favours as the vocals and distortion became particularly muddy. It’s a shame because the vocals during quieter moments were particularly captivating. Definitely a band to watch.

Next up, Siamese, the youngest band on the bill soaked the audience in layers of fuzz and distortion that would've probably made J Mascis sweat. Or at least mumble excitedly. Having recently released their single Computer Patient, the trio encapsulated the sound of 90s alt-rock in a short set to a now bustling room. After patching up some issues with their cables (pun absolutely intended), they proceeded to showcase a bunch of tracks from an upcoming EP. A particular highlight was the closing song No Room To Grow, the chorus of which pummels you in the face until you’re forced to nod your head along to its slow chugging rhythm.

Finally, Rolling Blackouts C.F. appeared on stage to a now packed room. What followed was a band showing the benefit of having toured heavily over the past few months, putting on an extremely tight set of jangly pop tunes. The band has openly admitted their pop ambitions, and this set proved their capability to write catchy, upbeat post-punk jams. With three guitarists lining the front, each got their turn to take on vocal duties which helped stop the songs from blending into one another. It wasn’t until the second half of the set that the crowd started to jump along to EP favourites Julie’s Place and French Press. Reminiscent of bands such as Real Estate, Rolling Blackouts C.F. showed that solid, upbeat songwriting and a tight performance can get a crowd moving just as much as any balls-to-the-wall punk band.