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Live: CITY CALM DOWN // Borderline, London

On Thursday night, Melbourne outfit City Calm Down entranced the crowd at London’s Borderline with a dazzling set to appease to both new and old fans.

Hailing all the way from Australia, City Calm Down brought their synths, keys, and brass to an adoring crowd at the Borderline in London last week.

Having recently released their second album, Echoes In Blue, the set was packed with both old and new songs, with such a diverse range of material that everyone in the crowd was sure to find one song they could fall in love with and dance to.

Kicking off with Distraction from their latest album, it’s an upbeat song that puts the audience in the right mood for the rest of the night. By the end of the song, people were already dancing along, drinks in hand. They followed with Blood, also taken from their sophomore album. A slightly more somber mood was set for the beginning of the song, as the synths washed over the audience, creating an ethereal soundscape. The drums kicked in halfway through the first chorus, and as the pace was picked up, the energy in the room picked up as well, with the thrumming electricity in the room almost becoming palpable.

Taking us back to their first album In A Restless House, older fans were delighted with Border On Control. The brass section was magnificent to watch, and it was a glorious song to see live as all the instruments blended together to create this overwhelming texture, enveloping you in waves of sound and euphoria.

Keen to show off more material, we switch to Decision Fatigue, with its pulsing drum beats and throbbing electronics giving the crowd a bit of a chance to sway along gently and catch their breath. The calm atmosphere is sustained in If There’s A Light On, as the crowd bask in the hazy blue light that sets the perfect visual for this song.

We continue with a trip down memory lane with Son, as Jack Bourke’s vocals soar and dominate the intimate venue with the poignant lyrics of the song. Funky synths and brass make this a fun song for the crowd to sing along and jump to, and the acoustic of the room make the brass much more prominent live than it sounds on the record, really bringing an extra dimension to the song. Continuing with Pride, we’re now about halfway through the set but the crowd are just as excited as they were for the first song. The prominence of the brass is again showcased in this song, and it’s an upbeat tune that just demands everyone on their feet to shake their hair and let loose.

The upbeat tempo is maintained as the band power on with Falling, and the crashing cymbals in the chorus are perfectly matched by the equally lively guitars. Bringing a bit of peace and lull to their set, Joan, I’m Disappearing tugged at the heartstrings of everyone in the room, as the emotional intensity of the song resonated around the room. Kingdom hits again with the rawness of the lyricism, but as the opening riff to one of the band’s most well-known songs, Rabbit Run, floated through, the cheer erupted from the crowd. Your Fix was another crowd-pleaser, and as City Calm Down finished with In This Modern Land, everyone was moving on their feet, dancing, ending what was a highly memorable night.

City Calm Down brought a highly energetic set, and showed the capital why their latest album is a masterpiece with its introspective lyricism and intricate instrumentals. We may have just seen them, but we already cannot wait for these Aussies to take the capital by storm again.

Photos: Athena Kam