I’m back. Same venue, different crowd, it always mystifies me this phenomenon.
My scene is usually darker denim, multi-coloured hair, and a mess of sweat, grime, and punk fury. Tonight, The Princess Theatre in all her glowing majestic beauty has gathered a more well-dressed prim and proper punter to savour the suave and chic sounds of San Cisco and the very swoonable Noah Dillon.
Another Friday downpour in the river city, two weeks in a row, and no one is complaining about that. The staff at The Princess have done their very best to ensure most outdoor seats are dry, but for good measure, the merch stand is inside with the unpredictable weather patterns circling overhead.
On an early arrival, I spy the merch stock getting thin, and this was the second show of the tour. It is an excellent sign to see during Aus Music Month, so buy up big IRL or online for your favourite acts, loyal gig heads! https://www.ausmusictshirtday.org.au/
The drum set with the San Cisco label sits proudly on centre stage, elevated on a dais. Normally the percussionist is relegated to the very rear of the stage, an inch before the loading dock and in the most poorly ventilated spot; not tonight, but then again, not all drummers are a Goddess like Scarlett Stevens.
Around 8:30’ish, much to the delight of his very primed devoted fans (connotations aside, the fans on the front barricade were drinking Prime energy drinks en-masse, a very disturbing visual indeed). The Western Australian came out with the essence of a Calvin Klein model from the early 90’s. In a snug white tank top, well-toned physique and exquisite mop of curls received admiration from his fans, and surely having the photographers down the front wiping the condensation from their lenses.
Noah is smashing it on triple j with his Like a Version last year, and high rotation of early tracks preceding the inaugural album ‘Kill the Dove’ released in 2022, becoming a local darling on the pop scene.
Noah started off solo, prior to inviting his band; Griff Owen -Bass, Ashley Skead -Drums, to and the stand-out Carla Geneve on Violin, to join him on stage to play the familiar Alive and Kicking that grabbed steady attention on triple j Like a Version original in 2021. Maximising the positive vibe, he tips his hat to the wonderful Princess Theatre and says he used to be a bit of a “mad dog” in his day as he worked through the journey of becoming a full-time musician. Perhaps this is exemplified in the journey into adulthood track, Kinevil Daredevil which had the crowd swaying and moving in rhythmic unison.
Noah went on to explain that the track Matthew McConaughy was having a self-desire to be more like …. Matthew McConaughy. I couldn’t help but find that hilarious. I mean, this bloke’s got charm, charisma, good looks, talent through the wazoo, and a confident swagger. I’m sure there will be a song in the future by another up-and-coming W.A artist titled …. “I want to be more like Noah Dillon”.
I C.A.N.T was the crowd participation track for the evening, it had Noah sing “I C.A.N.T… (and the crowd sing back) BE… ANYONE BUT ME!!!” It’s a ripper of a track! I’m drawn to that post-pop synth intro and all-over-the-place story-telling-narrative banter, plus any song that screams “fuck you” will always have me hooked, but “Don’t throw shit on the wall just to see if it sticks” is a neat way to suggest “don’t be a prick”.
The crowd favourite was definitely That’s Just How I Feel; this felt like the pinnacle of a good stomp. The talented violinist played to the point that it sounded like her instrument would combust at any moment. A perfect way to end the set.
I go to enough gigs to note the movements of punters who crudely omit warm-up acts by either arriving late, or staying outside. As the acts progress through the running order, crowds have a tidal swell, and the space prior to the main act diminishes. Full credit to Noah Dillon, I did not see this trend tonight. I suggest the crowd paid equal attention to this charismatic artist and did not want to be absent during his salubrious performance.
Pre-Jangle pop jitters are justified, with the backdrop of a retro ABC television test pattern on the screen. I’m probably one of the few that can recall this mesmerising visual omen from either being up way too late or out of bed way too freaking early.
I’m entertained by people trying to either barge through the sound tech booth, or thinking it’s some kind of convenient bar at the centre middle rear of the downstairs floor, with poor customer drink service. And please, for the love of high voltage electricity, don’t put used glasses on their mixing desk, it’s the height of ignorance and potential disaster.
Enter further more W.A royalty San Cisco consisting of Jordi Davieson (guitar, lead vocals) Josh Biondillo (guitars, vocals) and Scarlett Stevens (drums, vocals) and Mitch Benson (bass) to the volley of cheers and beach balls circulating in the crowd. Cherry visuals accompanied the opening track Lost Without You.
The very sun-kiss-blessed On the Line with that guitar sound of the Shadows meet the smooth symphony of the Drifters at a cocktail bar on the beach at extra happy hour.
After the stage crew adjust the mic for Scarlett, it’s time for Awkward, This is my favourite. The back-and-forth conversation/questioning lyrics between Jordi and Scarlett, intercepted with the non-lexical vocables “Ladadada,dadad,dadada..” Is it ignoring the questions asked? or the on-hold music while on a phone call? This formula enables an addictive tangibility to the audience, intertwined with simple percussions and that fuzzy radar fade sound effects that sway hips and move feet back and forth.
Jordi acknowledges some of the longer listening fans with a throwback to the synthy-smooth Beach from 2013, Josh effortlessly transitions between guitar and keys, and back. Talents by the bucket in this throwback to the 2013 baby faced Like a Version.
About You is a highlight of Jordie’s soothing vocals, and the central acoustic core melded with electronica is a recurring theme in the San Cisco sound, an infectious psychafunkic groove grounded to indie folk charm with impeccable perfection.
Honeycomb Is a buzz with the crowd embracing Scarlett to move to the front of stage, gracefully descending her drum kit, to tell us we are “sweet as honey” – Aww thanks, Scarlett!
High is a brand spanker title track off the new release E.P; a smooth and chic cocktail lounge number, with sultry keys.
After Hororscope, is the cue for a guitar swap for Jordi, and an uncommon occurrence proceeds it; Noah Dillon is welcomed to return to stage to join in on 4Ever. The honouring mutual respect between support and main act, is thoroughly lapped up by the crowd, to the point where Jordi laughs at the front row singing through the guitar solo.
A little bit of Princess Theatre history was formed when Summer Days, a previously unheard-of track, was allegedly played for the first time to the public. And I’m not going to spoil it for future punters! We are then treated to another recent addition to the San Cisco disco with Under the Light and another throw back with the vaudeville sounding and titled Fred Astaire.
The widely acclaimed Reasons a beautifully crafted mantra that first bought the band to my attention” “If you’re holding on you should let it go, could you let it go, let it go”.
Too Much Time Together was gifted to us during the encore and I think this is arguably the San Sisco hook to share with everyone – it’s rhythmically perfect, catchy, cheeky, and fun. Well played San Cisco!
Catch San Cisco at their remaining shows on tour – https://www.sancisco.com/
Thanks to Positive Feedback PR