Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Concorde 2, Brighton – 23rd October 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

As far as years go, Australian band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s has been exceptional. Formed in 2013 and relatively unknown at the start of the year, they went on to play some of the most prestigious festivals in the world, as well as headline shows of their own. Not only that, but they released their debut album, Hope Downs, which we said, “Exhibits everything we’ve loved about the band – ragged, but smooth nonlinear indie-rock – but with a much broader landscape than they’ve shown with their EPs.” They rounded off their fantastic year with a brilliant celebration at a euphoric Concorde 2 gig that showcased their debut record and their early singles.

It’s becoming a cliche to say at this moment, but having Brighton’s very own Thyla as support really elevates any bill. The four-piece, who have recently shown a different side to their repertoire with brooding and electric indie-pop, continue to be a force to be reckoned with. With singles ‘I Was Biting’ and ending song ‘Blame’, they both look and sound like they belong on vast stages such as this. Latest single ‘Candy’, too, is a ruminative and languishing beauty that reinforces Thyla’s artistry. The band are so good that, simply, we’ve run out of superlatives, and we can’t wait to see the band headline venues such as Concorde 2.

Having been nicely set-up by Brighton’s best up-and-coming band, the stage was set for Rolling Blackouts to deliver a fine night of jangly indie-rock. Opening with ‘The Hammer’, the closing song on the band’s terrific debut record, it was a brilliant, if entirely unspectacular, night of entertainment. It must be said that the quintet, with three different guitars – both electric and acoustic – have an incredibly well-rounded sound. Essentially a wall of sound, too, with harmonies and melodies coming from all angles, it sounds quite beautiful in Concorde 2’s vast space.

With an early outing of Hope Downs lead single ‘Talking Straight’, arguably the band’s most absorbing track, adding to the electric atmosphere, the band had an incredibly impressive seismic control over the large crowd from very early on. Likewise, with ‘Sick Bug’ and ‘Colours Run’ from the band’s second EP, The French Press, proving that the band had more than a few fans before the launch of their debut album, the Australian five-piece exhibited themselves as an incredibly versatile, all-round band.

With hits in abundance, including final two songs ‘French Press’ and ‘Time in Common’, this was the perfect showcase of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Ending with drummer Marcel Tussie leaving his drum kit to jump into the crowd, the band look like they’re the worthy successors of the indie crown, following on from the likes of American heroes The War on Drugs and Future Islands. The Australian outfit proved that they have all the aspects to be the next cacophonous – and sometimes raucous – indie-rock band of the moment. Unlike many, though, Rolling Blackouts look and sound like the real deal.

Liam McMillen