City Calm Down

In the Flesh! City Calm Down @ Max Watts, Brisbane


Photos & Review – Bobby Rein

City Calm Down have had a whirlwind of a 2016 since the release of their debut record In a Restless House in November 2015. They nailed their SOLD OUT national album tour in March/April, toured the UK, played a killer Splendour in the Grass set with a huge turnout, and tonight they’re half way through their second national tour at a sold out Max Watts, Brisbane.

Their music is often described as “New Order meets The Smiths meets Joy Division meets The Cure meets The National” which is fair to say but the truth being that their bevy of influences has birthed a beautiful, uniquely Australian sound. You know, the kind of songs that could squeeze into a Stranger Things soundtrack at some stage.


A quality sized crowd have shown up early to catch indie popsters, Middle Kids. The Sydney siders warm up the stage nicely and don’t hold back one little bit. An honourable mention goes to the super bendy, energetic bassist!

Middle Kids

Ali Barter is up next and she and her backing band dish up a passionate performance. Closing out her set with latest explosive single, Girlie Bits it’s safe to say that the stage is now officially warm and ready for the the main squeeze.

Ali Barter


Max Watts is bursting at the seams, and the punters are ready for action. <dadjoke> I guess you could say that they are… In a Restless Max Watts </dadjoke> The crowd bellows with a deafening roar as the boys make their way to the stage and waste no time leading into Wandering. Frontman, Jack Bourke fails to wipe the smile from his face between the chorus and verse as he looks out at his admiring fans. Soon after he snaps into a frenzy of Morrissey style dance moves, bopping back and fourth still while delivering his dreamy baritone vocals.

About three quarters into the set, the boys flawlessly perform Border Control which prompts the crowd to emit their heartiest roar of the night. The band is in a state disbelief as the crowd continues to cheer for 20+ seconds after the song has finished.

City Calm Down


Apart from the lads seamlessly dropping all of the crowd favourites and biggest hits, towards the end of their set they cover This Charming Man by The Smiths. Bourke loses himself on stage and it’s clear that the whole band are loving every second.

After finishing the set with Your Fix, the boys leave the stage, the house lights and music comes on, and half the crowd leaves as there is no sign of an encore. Unclear on whether it was planned or not, the boys return to the stage to play Let’s Dance by David Bowie to a smaller crowd to definitively close out the evening.

City Calm Down

Full of passion, emotions, and energy City Calm Down are absolutely unstoppable from here on in and we can’t wait to see the big things that are inevitably on the way for the boys.


Bobby Rein

Bobby is one of Bear Family's earliest family members. He has a sweet beard and likes to take photos, sing songs and brew the occasional beer. If you see him at a show, give him a cuddle.

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