Worth the wait: fans’ frenzy for some Coastal Fever
MUSIC REVIEW BAND: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever When: March 25 Where: The Forum, Melbourne. Duration: 1h 25m
The cruellest of ironies has been lifted from the shoulders of Melbourne five-piece Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.
The crowning achievement in their nationwide tour was originally set for May 14 in 2021 but was rescheduled three times.
Their homecoming gig, supporting the album that was inspired by their unrelenting stints overseas, had been postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions so often they should have changed their name to Rolling Lockdowns Corona Fever.
Calling all fans to the Forum.
In the audience was record label boss Johann Ponniah from I Oh You and singer Stella Donnelly, who was ecstatic to “have live music back!”
Fran Keaney, one of three singer-guitarists in the band, remarked onstage that it was “nice to finally bring these songs to life”.
It was a convenient aesthetic coincidence that the Forum’s Augustus of Prima Porta statue stood tall above the swelling crowd as the band prepared to perform songs from their sophomore LP Sideways to New Italy, with the starry night ceiling providing an ethereal backdrop.
They didn’t miss a beat from the get-go, opening with rousing track Bellarine.
She’s There was an early highlight, followed by hits Air Conditioned Man and Talking Straight from debut album Hope Downs.
Multiple instances of crowd-surfing put the coastal in Coastal Fever, but when it comes to geographical analogies, then I’d say they are closer to Mallee rock than anything.
The dry wit and intricate, weaving guitars resemble an Australiana best described by a 15-year-old Falcon flying along the Western Highway, past the endless gumtrees and silo murals of the Wimmera.
The band put on a spectacular night of music.
The middle segment of the 17-song set featured a chunk of back catalogue tunes from their not-so-recent new album and their latest single. Despite little fanfare, it established a steady, easy-going tempo that kept the buoyant audience swaying.
Cars in Space, with its two-minute solo, kicked the night into sixth gear and it wouldn’t slow down from there as summer anthem Cameo sent the mosh into a frenzy.
Next was new single The Way It Shatters, which you would’ve thought was a staple of their live shows given the rapturous reception it got from the crowd. The gig had hit fever pitch by this stage.
The final three numbers, Mainland, Fountain of Good Fortune, and French Press were treated to extended outros, which capped the definitive peak of a spectacular night.
There is no doubt that this is a band on top of their game – the songs they write and the way they deliver them live is not only second-to-none but great value.
Their album Endless Rooms will be released on May 6.