The San Cisco story is a funny one. The four-piece from Western Australia first formed in 2009 under the moniker King George. Then San Cisco arrived alongside 2010’s ‘Golden Revolver EP’ which was a slice of fuzzy, airtight guitar pop that was akin to the output of Vampire Weekend and other melody-driven outfits of that year. Now its 2013 and San Cisco have released their debut full length on Columbia Records and Fat Possum. They’ve gained in fans and in acclaim and this show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom hinted that this band could be teetering on commercial pandemonium.
They walk on and the teenagers of New York City scream- and I mean scream. The opener ‘Golden Revolver’ still ranks as one of their best singles with it’s high-school metaphorical lyricism and carefree refrain. As the show went on it was blindingly clear that San Cisco had an arsenal of these radio-built hits. Their hooks are easier to sing along to than the chorus of 2 Chainz’ ‘Im Diffrent’. The boy is charming and the girl is smoking. As they play they are looking at one another in awe of the fan base they have amassed. It’s not surprising. It’s such a winning formula. Tracks like ‘Awkward’, ‘Johns Song’ and ‘Fred Astaire’ are all assembled for mass enjoyment. A sceptic might question their creative drive and integrity but in the grand scheme of music today- if teenage girls are going ape shit over a band who write their own material and have been solidly gigging for the best part of half a decade that can not be a bad thing at all. Their sound is quaint and occasionally comes across a little too sweet but in a round about way it is part of the charm. The inevitable commercial success will be born out of the songs less than the image. It might just be chance that San Cisco have been gifted with both.
Littered outside the Bowery Ballroom and even on the subway home, there was a sense of euphoria amongst the youngsters who were in attendance. Some were waiting outside the venue for a glimpse of the band in a fashion that was less Lo-Fi chancers from Australia and more manufactured Cowell-spawned boy band. San Cisco’s stateside following might not be matched the world over but it is only a matter of time. The 5 years of gigging is paying off- they might just be colossal.
Words: Duncan Harrison