On Sunday night Australian pop-rock group San Cisco brought the fun to Baby’s All Right in support of their new album Gracetown, out now via Fat Possum Records/Island City Records. The show was the first of a three night New York City, which included a show at Mercury Lounge yesterday, and a free all ages show at Rough Trade NYC tonight at 7. Support at the Baby’s show came from fellow Australian Cam Avery and NYC’s very own, The Prettiots.
Even if you don’t know Cam Avery, you may recognize him. He’s a member of Tame Impala (he replaced Nick Allbrook), Pond, and has his own group, The Growl. His solo set was a mesmerizing performance of personal songs were folk-rock at heart, but performed with a rock and roll swagger. He captivated the already packed Baby’s All Right with a bold and confident set that made it clear that he has the talent to make it on his own as a solo artist, when he’s not rocking out with his many other projects. The crowd ate up his performance and bonded with him from start to finish. It’s a rare thing to see an opener do, but then again, Mr. Avery nearly stole the whole damn show.
Female trio The Prettiots made their return from New York City but still powered through a fun set that fit more along-side San Cisco’s vibe that Avery’s did. The girls leaned towards an indie-rock sound with plenty of witty, tongue-in cheek lyricism from singer Kay Kasparhauser. Such an example is the group’s most memorable offering, the undeniable catchy “Boys I Dated in High School,” a song about all the boys Kasparhauser has been romantically involved with. Bassist Lulu Prat and drummer Rachel Trachtenburg keep the rhythm section intact, while Kasparhauser holds down the ukulele, an unusual sight which adds to their playful approach.
San Cisco’s set at Baby’s on Sunday marked my first time seeing a proper show from the Aussie’s, although I caught them briefly at Lollapalooza in 2013. That was a bit less intimate then their showing at Baby’s, which was nearly half-full only 20 minutes after doors, packed with young fans of all ages, as the show was 16+. They too just returned from SXSW, and were noticeably without their normal bassist, Nick Gardner. Unfortunately, Gardner shot himself in the foot (literally) and was unable to join them on their current run of U.S. dates. A more than capable replacement bassist by the name of Jen Aslett filled in for him, and actually fit in quite well to the group. If you hadn’t known otherwise, I would have thought that she was an original member of the band.
San Cisco’s best moments are where they’re able to find a pop-hook and combine it with an youthful, energetic rock riff and just run rampant with it. That’s what the best songs from their 2012 debut album did (those being “Awkard” and “Fred Astaire”). The formula is still at work with the album’s catchy first single “Too Much Time Together,” which was as delightful live as I would have hoped. Frontman and lead singer Jordi Davieson’s vocals have a clearness to them that really does call to mind Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, if not a bit more shiny around the edges.
The group’s brisk 45-minute set closed with a solo performance of “Skool” by Davieson, and a playful finish of “Fred Astaire” that sent the crowd home happy, screaming for more. The group seem to have a dedicated young fanbase, always a sign that lots of success is on the way.
San Cisco Setlist:
2. Golden Revolver
3. About You
4. Bitter Winter
6. Too Much time Together
7. No Friends
12. Fred Astaire