The five-piece have become Australia's most jam-friendly band.
It hasn’t been long since the newly refurbished Espy threw open its doors, inviting punters back into the iconic seaside venue. An 18-month long makeover has given the place a fresh feel, while still managing to maintain that old-world charm and soul of the original building, its bars and its décor. While it might have a slightly snazzy new look, The Espy is still gripping tightly to its status as a well-regarded rock’n’roll venue, and played the perfect host to local shredders Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever last Friday.
Kicking things off for the evening were Melbourne trio Loose Tooth, who got the crowd warmed up in the cavernous Gershwin Room. This space was left relatively untouched during the renovations, maintaining features such as the ornately carved ceilings, chipping wall paint and antique style chandeliers. It’s shaken off that divey feel though, and adopted a warmer, more regal quality instead.
On stage, Loose Tooth were rocking out comfortably with their blend of catchy, garage, guitar pop. The three-piece, comprised of Etta Curry (drums/vocals), Luc Dawson (bass/vocals) and Nellie Jackson (guitar/vocals), had quite a charming stage presence, stopping between tracks to engage with the audience and each other. Their chemistry wasn’t surprising considering they’re all long-term friends, but they cultivated a really pleasant atmosphere by extending this feeling of friendliness to the growing crowd.
All of their songs had an effortless feel to them, but tracks ‘Keep On’ and ‘All The Colours Gone’ from their latest album, were notable highlights. Both were particularly easy on the ears, but also the kind of tunes that you find yourself still humming a good three days later.
Once the trio had wrapped up, the full capacity of the Gershwin Room was put to the test as people flooded in to catch the main event. A solid mosh pit had formed by the time the Rolling Blackouts boys took the stage, and it erupted into a frenzy as they launched into their first song, ‘The Hammer’.
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The five-piece were buzzing with energy from the get-go, embellishing the track with extra instrumentals and deliciously lavish guitar solos. This carried on throughout the entire set as one track effortlessly melded into another, bound together with short interludes and displays of fantastic musicianship. They’re definitely the kind of band that thrive off a live music environment, with each member getting the chance to really display his instrumental proficiency.
‘Talking Straight’ was, unsurprisingly, a huge crowd pleaser, drawing a massive response from the rollicking audience. Drummer Marcel Tussie somewhat stole the show for this one, thrashing his kit with an unwavering vigour while his bandmates played a long, meandering outro, that led into the next song, ‘Sister’s Jeans’.
The bulk of their songs for the night were from their album, Hope Downs, such as ‘Exclusive Grave’, which featured some intense shredding from the three guitarists, Fran Keany, Tom Russo and Joe White, but the guys played a veritable mix of old and recent tracks. ‘Colours Run’ and ‘Sick Bug’ took us back to their 2017 EP, with the latter featuring some mad bass work from Joe Russo, while some sneaky new songs made it onto the setlist too.
As the night drew to a close, they launched into extended versions of ‘Mainland’ and ‘Fountain of Good Fortune’, before finishing with the wildly popular ‘French Press’, which sent everyone into a finale-style frenzy. However, one of the most impressive aspects of the Rolling Blackouts C.F. show was the fact that they treated every song like it was a finale. Over the course of the 75-minute set they never wavered in delivery, executing each track with sheer amounts of energy and care. By the end of the night they were dripping in sweat, but it was the mark of a bunch of artists with a palpable passion for performing, and a true love for what they do.
Highlight: Marcel Tussie’s stage dive during ‘French Press’. Legend.
Lowlight: Being a small girl in a sea of tall blokes all lacking spatial awareness.
Crowd favourite: ‘Talking Straight’.