FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE
Photos by Sheldon Ang
Tonight’s performance of San Cisco at the Fremantle Arts Centre was the second leg of a fourteen-city tour, stretching over two months across Western Australia. It was also the first of four shows – all sold out at this historic venue – unsurprising, given the foursome-turned-threesome is probably the biggest act to perform in WA since the breakout of COVID. The Between You and Me tour is perhaps the most anticipated show since the things came to a halt earlier this year, translating into sold out shows across the state.
Tonight was a showcase of indie pop, wit, playfulness and maturity. This was evident by the manner the crowd was hypnotised, singing along to every word.
The night sparked with singer, songwriter and producer, Adrian Dzvuke. The Zimbabwean born artist was animated on stage, snaking his arms to the rhythm of his groovy beat, showcasing the local produce with the raw sounds of hip hop and RnB. The talented Dzvuke may not be a household name in Perth, but as newfound fans danced to his Afrobeats, his popularity should soar by November when the tour ends. Tonight’s opener is the sonic diversity that this city needs.
Next in line was Stella Donnelly, one of Perth’s best known exports, who weaves honesty, wit, sultriness and savviness into her lyrics and onstage performance. The Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year and WAM winner for Best EP, Best Folk Act, Best Female Vocalist and so forth performed her hits such as Mosquito, Old Man, Die, Lunch, and Tricks. While her original tracks set the party in train, the performance that elevated the crowd to the stratosphere was Donnelly’s cover of JPY’s Love Is In The Air, which was perhaps one of the sexiest renditions ever of this iconic Aussie track. It was the love anthem across generations that slipped into our hearts tonight. Most would’ve first heard on Triple J’s Like A Version. Looking like C.J. Parker without the corniness of the 80’s TV series, Donnelly performed with euphoric sincerity, jumping in ecstasy like a seventeen-year-old who has just found her first love. The kaleidoscope lighting orchestra beaming from the back of the stage formed the perfect backdrop to Donnelly’s wonderful visuals and performance.
Headliners, San Cisco — Jordi Davieson (guitar, lead vocals), Josh Biondillo (guitar, vocals) and Scarlett Stevens (drums, vocals) — graced the stage with two supporting members through the smoky air, sparking the night with Skin, When I Dream and the dance driven Shine from their latest and fourth album, Between You and Me, released in September of this year. For avid San Cisco fans, they’d recognised the band’s early works are thematically inclined with the younger generations, reflecting the crowd demographics — in their late teens and early twenties. The latest album reflects the present demeanour of the trio, as the allegiance from matured fans of the early years continued to pay homage in droves tonight.
Scarlett Stevens was solid on drums, controlling the tempo of the band and revving the pistons to a well-oiled machine, while providing the vocals such as their 2011 hit Awkward (the da da da da da da and doo doo doo doo doo doo song), which stuck in this reviewer’s head long after the night. Personally, the song screams as if The Wiggles were doing adult contemporary – which is a complement (!) given San Cisco still managed to squirt the fun factor onto everyone of all ages — and that’s why we love the symbiotic sounds of this band.
Late into the setlist, Stella Donnelly and Adrian Dzvuke reunited with the audience and joined San Cisco with their rendition of Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Just like the cover by Donnelly, the inter-generational familiarity of this track blew the metaphorical roof off the house, making Fremantle Arts Centre the host of the biggest karaoke party on the planet.
The encore kicked off with Between You and Me – drawing a poignant touch to the night. The show ended with Too Much Time Together from their 2015 album Gracetown, a track that that reenergised the crowd. Davieson said once in an interview on EW, “San Cisco has proximity issues. We thought it would be fun to turn the relationship side of this song on its head, and make it about the band as well as couples. Because we certainly do spend too much time together”. Given the chance, the crowd would’ve stayed till dawn.
Tonight was a showcase of indie pop, wit, playfulness and maturity. This was evident by the manner the crowd was hypnotised, singing along to every word. San Cisco took flight from the get-go, carrying the fans on a musical journey of shenanigans, love, heartbreak and seeds of maturity on the magic carpet ride of the Between You and Me album, interleaving fans with their unique DNA as being of the most sort after bands in this country.