Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever tour nationally April-May 2021.
The last time Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever got to play an actual real-life gig, the floor was coming out from underneath them and every other band on the planet.
Their tour with the Pixies had just been cancelled, and the band were left stranded in Sydney with nothing to do.
Putting on a last-minute show at inner-west pub Vic On The Park, tensions were already quite high in the days before the country officially went into lockdown. "There was kind of this sense of dread," recalls Fran Keaney, one of the band's three guitarists and vocalists.
"It felt like it was gonna be our last show for a while, but it also felt weird to even celebrate that. By the day the show was happening, it was like, 'Should we even be going on?'. We just didn't know.
"It wasn't even a case of savouring the moment – it had just become a matter of punching it out and going straight home after that."
Needless to say, after months on end confined to their own homes, the Melbourne five-piece are chomping at the proverbial bit to play shows in support of their second studio album, 'Sideways To New Italy'.
With a tour scheduled for this coming April-May – almost a year removed from the album's release – the group are touching wood they'll finally be in the clear once the dates roll around. "I'm looking forward to that comeback show," Keaney says.
"There's gonna be no question marks there. "We've been rehearsing again for a few months now, and we certainly haven't been taking it for granted. Last year, the future just seemed so out of reach to all of us. Even three weeks away was too far. You didn't allow yourself to think that far ahead, because you knew that your hopes were inevitably going to be dashed.
"The band itself just felt like a foreign concept to me. It was even the same when the album came out. There was no real tangible connection to it this time – it just went on the Internet and that was it. Now we're back in the room and making noise again, it feels so good."
Of course, the band's roll-out for 'Sideways To New Italy' wasn't entirely in vain. The band got to tape a unique performance in the middle of the Melbourne Cricket Ground for The State of Music, which included a collaboration with fellow indie darling Stella Donnelly.
"Apparently, we hold the record for the lowest-ever attendance at the MCG," Keaney quips. "Just good to be in the books, really.
"It was definitely an unreal experience, being in amongst it. There's a real sort of sense of spirit in that place [the MCG]. It's always been a sacred place. There's a real power behind an amplifier when you're in an empty stadium, too. That was such a special thing to do."
Though it obviously doesn't beat a living, breathing crowd reacting in real time to your music, Keaney and co. are thankful they were still able to get their music out there at a time when it genuinely seemed an impossible feat.
"We got to do some things that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to do," he says. "I mean, we tried to take as many positives as we could out of it.
"But now I think we're completely fine to just leave 2020 where it was, and look forward to what's coming next."
Besides the 'Sideways To New Italy' tour, there's also the potential of getting to work on album number three already. Keaney reports that during rehearsals for the tour, the band have made a point of jamming new songs that members wrote while stuck at home.
"It's funny too, because we'd all written without one another knowing," he explains. "I kept writing last year, sort of in fits and bursts. I think a lot of people found it hard writing at times last year – there's not much to draw from in the same four walls.
"Somehow, I had a really productive one-month period where I wrote a lot of songs and it turns out the others did as well. It was a different process to what we've done previously – particularly what we did for the last album, which was all write together in the same room.
"Now we're coming back, showing our songs to one another, and they're pretty much in their final forms now. It's cool!"
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever 2021 Tour Dates
Sat 27 Mar - Euroa Music Festival (Euroa, Victoria) Fri 16 Apr - The Gov (Adelaide) Sat 17 Apr - Altarn (Hobart)* early & late show Fri 30 Apr - The Tivoli (Brisbane) Sat 1 May - Freo.Social (Fremantle) Fri 14 May - Forum Melbourne Fri 21 May - The Factory Theatre (Sydney)* sold out Sat 22 May - Kambri @ ANU (Canberra) Sun 23 May - The Factory Theatre (Sydney)