Review: San Cisco – Thekla, Bristol – Saturday 12th October

San Cisco performing at Thekla. Photo by www.willfahy.co.uk
San Cisco performing at Thekla. Photo by www.willfahy.co.uk

Review by Kevin McGough – 

San Cisco have come to save indie-pop, and they want to put a smile on your face while they’re doing it.

With their irresistibly catchy choruses, imaginative arrangements, contemplative lyrics, and a pair of budding sex symbols this Australian 4-piece are built to break your hearts in many ways.

Theirs is a sunshine drenched kind of pop which masks a more serious side – imagine Lou Reed writing Beach Boys sing-alongs and you’re starting to get the right vibrations.

Four school friends from Freemantle, Western Australia, their sound combines the jangly guitars of Josh Biondillo, throbbing bass of Nick Gardener, graceful drumming of Scarlett Stevenson and the sun kissed Alex Turner/Ezra Koenig-esque vocals of Jordi Davieson. Touring in support of their self-titled debut album, they are excited to be visiting Bristol tonight and especially to be playing on the good ship Thekla. ‘We’ve never played on a boat before,’ explains Jordi, ‘and I love boats’.

This positivity seems to drive their current collection of tunes. To be sure, although songs like crowd favorite “Fred Astaire blur the line between despair and delight you always tend to feel that San Cisco are a bunch who see the glass as being very much half-full rather than half-empty.

From the outset it’s clear that Cisco-mania has already taken hold of many of those in attendance. The place is packed-out from early in the evening and a rapturous reception is eagerly given when they finally make their way onto the stage. It’s a young enthusiastic crowd and it certainly feels as though for many of them this is their first gig experience and that they and the band are connected in some profound way and are to some extent growing up together.

 

 
 

 

Song titles like “Rocket Ship”, “Wild Things”, “Golden Revolver” and “Beach’’ are screamed for by the salivating devotees – who mouth every word throughout – along with constant declarations of love for Jordi and Scarlett.

The level of warmth exuding from the audience is such that Jordi is finally compelled to acknowledge it: ‘Bristol you’re awesome’ and later enthuses that ‘this has been the best gig on the tour yet!!’

Standout track “Awkward is their international bestseller (and surely soon to be huge summer hit) and when the first chords are struck the tempo and temperature rises further, camera phones reach out into the sweaty darkness and the familiar chorus reverberates loudly from burning lungs.

Jordi has the crowd in the palm of his hand by this point – masterfully conducting them in sing-alongs, hand claps etc with expertly timed promptings throughout.

Photo by www.willfahy.co.uk
Photo by www.willfahy.co.uk

There is definite confidence amongst them that belies their tenders ages (all under 21) and is a truer reflection of their extensive gig experience garnered from long tours across Australia, America and Europe.

After coming back on for what feels like a genuine encore they finish off with a cover of Daft Punk’s ubiquitous “Get Lucky again its pop perfection and helps wrap up proceedings in a beautifully crafted bow.

San Cisco are certainly not without a few flaws but there is more than enough here to suggest it won’t be long before they are selling out much larger venues than this.

Louis Armstrong famously sang that when you ‘smile and the whole world smiles with you’.

I’m pretty sure San Cisco feel the same.

Find out more about the band at sancisco.com

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