Review: San Cisco at Lincoln Hall

(Photo courtesy of SAN CISCO)
(Photo courtesy of SAN CISCO)

When I was younger, San Cisco was one of bands that sound-tracked my peculiar patterned button up, faux leather oxfords, and polka dotted skirt wearing indie pop phase.  The Australian band, who recently came out with their sophomore album Gracetown, has moved past the hair bows, awkward length corduroys, and overall juvenile look, matching their more mature sound with a killer live show and a niche in the indie pop world to call their own.

MOTHXR (made up of all men, of course. What about FATHXR?), was the opener. Jimmy Giannopoulos, who has an impressive range and an incredible R&B voice, seemed a little out of place in the swarm of synths and vibrant lights. Although the band was willing to put on an entertaining show despite the lack of interaction and interest of the crowd, MOTHXR didn’t seem completely comfortable with themselves on stage. As their set went on, the nervousness disappeared slightly, allowing the band to play smoother, even inviting a very talented saxophone player onstage for the last two songs. This is the kind of band that could tune up their live show in a few years and tone down the synthesizers.

Schubas, the perfect sized venue to host a sold out San Cisco on June 23, was bursting with chatter and brightly dressed, eager fans by the time MOTHXR ended. Even though the band wasn’t the most well-known at one point (I recall seeing them open for The Vaccines a few years ago to a crowd of 30 people), their new album has attracted an impressive amount of people, and rightfully so. Although about half the crowd instantly started dancing, the people towards the front surprisingly remained pretty calm. The band wasn’t at fault, but perhaps the age of the audience was. Being an 18 and up show, there were quite a few older people quietly sipping their overpriced beer near the stage while the younger ones seemed to have to suppress their excitement in the back.

Nonetheless, San Cisco put on one of the best shows at Lincoln Hall this year so far. The set, which was simple and backed by minimalistic lighting, emphasized how San Cisco can really control the show with their infectious songs. “Awkward”, which has been their most popular song (and most overplayed) for years, was upgraded, switching around the routine a bit by adding different guitar riffs and skewing with the instrumentals just enough that it was refreshing. This simple change reflects how San Cisco is taking their artist creativity into account while keeping the same youthful vibe they’ve always had.

“This song is about a mongrel about all the bad relationships I’ve ever had. Wait – do you all know what mongrel means?” Davieson asked before launching into a fan favorite, “Snow.” Every member of the band is clearly relaxed on stage, joking with each other about foul feet and dirty laundry in the back of the van.

One of the highlights of the show involved the rest of the band stepping behind the curtain so Davieson could take the spotlight, performing an acoustic rendition of “Skool,” a love song he wrote while in high school.

San Cisco, who still has plenty of tour dates to go, has found their own little spot in the indie pop world.