Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever


The steam rising from the oversold and packed crowd gathered in Gorilla on this warm early Summer’s evening is testament to just how huge this band have become in a short space of time. Plus it’s also proof that no matter how much Manchester’s skyline changes with new developments, as the city expands, some things never change – Manchester venues are still sweaty in summer!

Yep, air con is still a concept yet to be embraced by the owners of most gig venues, so it’s a sea of rising mist which greets Melbourne’s latest exports. After releasing two EPs, Talk Tight in 2015 and The French Press in 2017, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have received bucketfuls of adoration from fans and the music press alike. This is their biggest headline gig to date, sold out for weeks, and the band seem genuinely humbled and surprised by the enthusiastic reception.

Launching into ‘Clean Slate’, they play their guitars with lightning paced strums, with the three guitarists’ riffs bouncing off the others, plus with all three singer/guitarists (Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White) doing a verse each, it’s a melodic and highly energised opener. Swiftly following is ‘Julie’s Place’, with equally fast paced guitar melodies and those beautiful vocal lines, then into ‘Wither With You’, both taken from The French Press.

“What’s with the steam in here, it’s hotter than South-East Asia!” guitarist Fran comments, before launching into new tune, ‘Air Conditioned Man’ from their forthcoming album, and it’s good to hear the new stuff has equally stratospheric levels of harmonies and tuneful spiky guitar riffs weaving in and out.

They end with a trio of what I think are their best tunes from the two releases they’ve put out so far: ‘Fountain Of Good Fortune’, ‘Wide Eyes’ and ‘French Press’, each with hugely memorable choruses, and those angular guitar riffs, powered along by a backing of bassist Joe Russo’s thunderous basslines, and Marcel Tussie’s express train drumbeats.

Coming back for an encore of ‘Colours Run’ from The French Press, the Melbourne five piece have proved that their brand of melodic guitar based indie is worthy of the accolades they’ve received so far. Live, they’re one of the best guitar bands around, and a band well on their way to dizzying heights of rock n roll greatness. A sweaty melodic triumph!

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.