San Cisco @ Fremantle Arts Centre
w/ Stella Donnelly and Adrian Dzvuke
Friday, October 30, 2020
It has been an uncertain year for Australian music, marked by border restrictions, lockdowns and economic uncertainty. If anything this year has reminded us of the value of arts in our community and the importance of nurturing those who seek to make it a profession, whether they be well-established commercial veterans, or independent musicians starting out for the first time. You got a sense of this last Friday at Fremantle Arts Centre for Perth indie-pop stalwarts San Cisco at their sold out show for their fourth studio album, Between You and Me.
Opening the evening was up-and-coming Perth R&B artist Adrian Dzvuke. Jumping across the stage in a ceaseless beat of enthusiasm, Dzvuke got the early crowd bopping from the get-go. His blend of electronic rhythms with rap and Afrobeat drumming is totally unique yet at the same time sticks around in your head like something you’ve heard so many times before. It has been said that Dzvuke is an artist to watch and his live performance only confirms that claim.
It is safe to say Stella Donnelly is one of the best live acts in Australia. Shooting out onto the stage at 8pm, the audience was graced with a forty minute set featuring songs from 2019 debut album Beware of the Dogs as well as earlier material. Donnelly brought her usual infectious cocktail of energetic stage antics, raw lyricism and emotional depth to her performance. As always, her rapport with the crowd was lively and unforgettable, instilled with humour and witty charm.
It was a balmy evening at the Fremantle Arts Centre. The open stage shrouded in the canopies of trees and multicoloured lights made for a kind of psychedelic musical forest atmosphere. The packed-out venue was made up of a crowd that were both young and old – from children on parent’s shoulders to people with picnics and super-fans eagerly awaiting the main event.
It was the ultimate setting to welcome San Cisco onstage as they proceeded to deliver a perfect set which was a stark reminder of why they’ve been able to stick around as a band for so long.
Playing songs from their new album alongside hits from across their career, the band seemed genuinely thrilled to be onstage. In a white singlet with his hair tied back lead singer and guitarist Jordi Davieson was at home as he strutted about the stage with all the polish and unabashed candour of an experienced indie hero.
Sharing vocal duties with drummer Scarlett Stevens, they had the crowd enraptured with well-known knockouts Awkward, Too Much Time Together and Fred Astaire. New songs When I Dream and On the Line were also crowd pleasers. While the latest album sticks to the original formula that has proven to be so successful for the band, this lack of originality doesn’t make the music any less enjoyable, especially live.
If there wasn’t already a single person without a smile on their face, there was no chance by the encore as Davieson invited Adrian Dzvuke and Stella Donnelly onstage for a fast-paced cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, before finishing up with an acoustic solo song. By 10pm, the set was over and within minutes the crowd had quickly dispersed out into the warm Fremantle night.
San Cisco are the relative grandparents of the latest generation of the local scene. They’ve played gigs around the country and the globe for over 11 years now, and this experience shone through on Friday night. They do fun, sun-drenched indie-pop better than anyone. After a year like this, it’s hard to think of a better band than San Cisco to remind you that there is still room for optimism and fun.
Photos by Adrian Thomson