San Cisco are a band you need to see live, but being the busy bees they are and the fact they hail from Fremantle in Western Australia, it’s difficult to track them down for a gig. They’re recently completed a successful tour of Europe which ended with a solitary UK appearance at The Dome, Tufnell Park in London and in just a couple of weeks embark on a comprehensive tour of Australia and North America in promotion of their second album “Gracetown”. The last time they toured the UK was way back in 2013 and the band currently have no future UK dates scheduled, so I jumped at the chance to see them.
Meeting lead singer Jordi Davieson ahead of the gig, he enthuses about performing live and how it’s a real gamble to fly over for one evening of promotion, but it is certainly worth it as far as the crowd’s responses go. There’s a strong teen-girl element to the audience which is not surprising given the band’s own youth and their photogenic appearance: girls drool over Jordi and dream of being as effortlessly cool as drummer/vocalist Scarlett. As the band are announced, there are screams of the calibre only One Direction are used to receiving but the band don’t seem fazed, in fact they seem fuelled by the rapturous welcome. They open with debut album track “Nepal” and being the catch songsmiths they are, even an album track is still a belter and other bands would struggle to write a single so catchy.
Jordi struts his stuff on the stage, wearing a denim jacket which he later sheds (to more audience enthusiasm) to reveal a tight black top and turning his back on the crowd to bounce off drummer Scarlett and also shake his bum. He has an innate sexiness and youthful vigour which manifests itself in the odd cocky line (“Wash it All Away”) and hip-swivelling thrusts which would make Elvis blush. That’s not to say that the band are overly confident. They play in an accomplished manner, honed through long touring sessions and a genuine bond grown through all being childhood friends to some extent. Guitarist Josh recreates the energetic riffs of the album with ease and even manages to sound like he’s jamming or duelling with Jordi as they finish off a couple of tracks. As mentioned before, Scarlett is cool and in command, sharing vocals on their anthem “Awkward” and teasing and correcting Jordi as he tries to skip ahead in the set list once or twice. Not once does she ease off from the pounding drumbeats and to balance this with lead vocals too shows real skill and energy. The only missing band member is bassist Nick who has sat this recent promotional tour out due to accidentally shooting himself in the foot. He is ably replaced by the lovely Jen Aslett (a fellow Fremantler) who doubles bass and keyboard duties and the band playfully mock his absence and ability with firearms.
The set takes us through hits both new and old and it’s interesting that the crowd’s biggest reactions are to the back-to-back powerhouse of “Awkward” and “Too Much Time Together” which are got out of the way fairly early in the evening but that the audience (myself included) have been clearly listening to and enjoying the new album just as much as they sing along to the newer songs like “About You”. Their now well-honed cover of “Get Lucky” has the crowd in the upstairs venue dancing (I begin to fear for those downstairs!) and “Run” brings their pre-encore set to a rousing finish. The band brave the fervent crowd to run off to their dressing room and return to deafening chants demanding more, with just Jordi at first giving us a solo rendition of the sweet teenage ballad “Skool”. The others join him on proper closing anthem “Fred Astaire” and Jordi asks that even if we don’t know the words, we still dance. The crowd oblige, but everyone knows the words, helping out on the rousing chorus and dancing themselves silly particularly down the front.
All through the night, Jordi and Scarlett have repeated how thankful they are to be playing tonight and are grateful we’ve come to see them, particularly given how far they’ve travelled and whilst it’s the thing you always expect an act to say, for one who are on the verge of breaking through to the UK market, it’s clear they really do value us coming together to enjoy their music and spread the word. With a brilliant 1 hour set packed with 14 classics played with passion and joy, I’m more than happy to do so.
• Golden Revolver
• About You
• Bitter Winter
• Too Much Time Together
• No Friends
• Projection (Wash it All Away)
• Get Lucky
• Fred Astaire
San Cisco take a short well-earned break before embarking on their next touring session of Australia and North America.