All photos by Anthony Bauer
Earlier this year Australia’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released one of the years best albums, Hope Downs (via Sub Pop) and have been out on the road ever since its release. We were there when they played Rough Trade just before the release of the new album but this return to New York City felt much bigger in many ways (…and we’ll get to all of them in a minute). The night wasn’t all theirs though. as openers Clean Machine and Deeper brought the heat to keep the crowd on their toes leading up to the full headlining set from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.
Kicking things off for the night was Nashville band Clean Machine (who let the crowd know that they were formally known as Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine). Not sure why the Eagle Johnson got dropped from their name but that underlying Nashville twang was definitely prevalent within their opening set. While this was the first time we were catching the band, their breezy and easygoing sound was the perfect way to set things off for the night.
Second opener Deeper is a band hailing from Chicago and they have a beautiful mix of a few different bands from Chicago yet have a sound that is all their own. While there wasn’t much banter, one of the only times the band spoke was when somebody threw a beer can on stage and frontman Nic Gohl told the crowd that their drummer loves that, to which the crowd obliged and proceeded to throw empty beer cans on stage in the middle of the next song. While I was ducking for cover to avoid a beer-soaked camera, the moment felt a bit out of place in the midst of the indie-rock vibe of the night. I will say that both the band and crowd handled the situation like champs and it wasn’t too bad for either side which is always good. Something also tells me that we’ll be seeing more of Deeper in the future and we’re certainly excited about that.
Before Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever took the stage, there definitely was a sense of excitement brewing in the air. This was a big show for the band and while we knew they would be back to play another show in New York City, this one was something special. You see, about 18 or so months ago the band opened for Tennis and within that timeframe they’ve released an amazing amount of stellar music, gotten high praise from all the major outlets, played all the major festivals and played countless shows all over the world. The special part is that 18 months ago they were the opener for someone at the venue, and fast forward to September of this year and not only did they headline the space, they sold it out.
While there wasn’t much banter from them either, they let their music do all the talking. They bring such a high energy to their set that it feels like everything will fly off the rails at any minute while still remaining in total control of it all. If that’s crazy, even the “quieter” songs or moments within their set still find room to rock by seamlessly blending indie-rock with jam-band qualities. It’s kind of a hard thing to explain unless you experience it and see the band live as they seem to only have one speed which is GO. With that one speed, lots of kudos has to be given to their rhythm section, who are basically energizer bunnies the entire set going non–stop from the first note of the first song to the last note of the last song.
Their 16-song set breezed by quicker than I imagined and it was chock full of amazing moments that only they could pull off. I mean, when you play one of the years best songs and Hope Downs standout track “Talking Straight” third in your set, you know you’re going to be in for an awesome show. Seriously I was expecting that to be played towards the end (or even in the encore) but not third.
The band gave the people what they wanted while still not forgetting songs off their fantastic EP from last year such as “Fountain of Good Fortune” and the always sprawling epic first set closer, “French Press.” After the encore, the house lights flipped on and the drummer Marcel Tussie pointed to the back of the venue and dove head first into the crowd with the biggest grin on his face while triumphantly surfing from the stage to the back of the venue. It was a simple moment but you can tell the band were having just as much fun playing and being there as us, the fans were getting to see them.
Something tells me they’ll be back around next year and you better believe we’ll be there (and you should, too).
Find full gallery from Clean Machine, Deeper and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (along with their setlist), posted below.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever:
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever setlist:
2. Clean Slate
3. Talking Straight
5. Sisters’ Jeans
7. Sick Bug
8. Air Conditioning Man
9. Exclusive Grave
11. Time in Common
13. Fountain of Good Fourtune
14. French Press
15. Colours Run
16. Wide Eyes