Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever @ Rickshaw Theatre - June 7th 2019

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever @ Rickshaw Theatre – June 7th 2019

“All go, no slow” was (presumably) the mantra of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever at Vancouver’s Rickshaw Theatre on Friday. The five-piece rock band, hailing from Australia, made the trans-Pacific trek to foist their jangly tunes upon an eager audience.

On their inaugural studio release, Hope Downs, Rolling Blackouts C.F. established themselves as spunky and broadly palatable without sacrificing substance. At roughly 35 minutes the album is lean but potent, posing the question: How will this transpose to a live set? The answer, as I’ve derived it, is something like: Short but sweet—until it wasn’t.

The band was energetic, and played with the same technical prowess exhibited on the album. Flowing quite naturally through the twangy “An Air Conditioned Man”, into the post-punk “Bellarine”, the three guitarists of the group volleyed vocal duties about, while the drummer and bassist stayed in lockstep. The interplay between the trifecta up front kept excitement high and the audience’s attention drawn. Throughout the set, elated audience members moshed, danced and sang along—even inflecting the Aussie accent to play the role to its fullest.

The only downfall arose as the band’s limited catalogue—and range—reared its head. After a solid 45 minutes of runtime, including many new tracks that were well-received, it began to feel like the material was on repeat. It wasn’t, of course, but the drums and guitars all felt a bit too…algorithmic. As if the band was just mix-and-matching their respective elements between songs. Sure, in a reductive sense, this is true of all music—after all, there are only so many notes—but to have exhausted their variability so quickly was a tad disappointing. This feeling, however, did not seem to resonate throughout the Rickshaw, as the crowd cried “Encore!”, and not “More experimentation and originality!”.

Ending the evening with “Clean Slate”, the spirit in the room was alive and kickin’ as the boys from Aus tore the place down. Rolling Blackouts knows their sound, and will play it to the max.

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