The Jungle Giants At The Troubadour, Wednesday February 26th 2020
There was a lot of jumping, dancing, clapping and bouncing at The Jungle Giants’ show at the Troubadour, on Wednesday night. The Aussie band was headlining the last show of their US tour, and the exuberance of their performance, the enthusiasm of the crowd was quite a scene to witness. Frontman Sam Hales certainly knew how to canalize the audience’s energy and excitement into one powerful force working as one.
From start to finish, the show was a steady dancefloor and a joyful party. People were right with them since the beginning of the night and they never failed to follow the band’s punchy and dynamic music.
From the almost krautrock beats of the punk-dance ‘Quiet Ferocity’ to the ‘80s guitars of ‘She’s a Riot’ – imagine a Smiths song reworked with a full optimistic vision – the music was booming of joy and exhilaration. Not only the quartet almost never calmed down, but the energy went to the roof a few times during their performance.
Formed in Brisbane in 2011, The Jungle Giants have already released three albums, and have slightly departed from the original indie-pop-rock sound of ‘Learn To Exist’ (2013) and ‘Speakerzoid’ (2015) to embrace a more dance-electro pop with their latest album, ‘Quiet Ferocity’ released in 2017, which was mostly composing their setlist on Wednesday night. The crowd received their latest singles with the same passion, ‘Heavy Hearted’, another dance-y collage released in 2019 and incorporating creative sounds – in particular a bassline played on a custom-made tubulum – and their latest tune, ‘Sending Me Ur Loving’, an infectious dancefloor with taints of electronica and an almost Arctic Monkeys catchy chorus. However, streaming any of their songs online will only give you a tamed down version of the crazy energy fueling these same songs once played live.
Their bright indie-pop was sometimes showing light touches of Arcade Fire in their most joyful moments, paralleling these same cathartic sonic explosions, while the numerous ‘1,2,3!’ shouted by Hales and followed by a renewed energy, could have even been EDM-inspired. From unrestrained disco floors (‘Blinded’ or ‘ Feel the way I do’), animated by Andrew Dooris’ funky infectious bass lines, to the hooky pop chorus of ‘On Your Way Down’ or the speedy tempo of ‘I Am What You Want Me To Be’ accelerated by Keelan Bijker’s drumming, there was an electrifying energy in the room, while Cesira Aitken’s guitar work was nicely completing Hales’ helium falsetto.
The Troubadour became a very sweaty place with people bouncing on their two feet, all arms in the air, and each song brought solid hooks completely embraced by the crowd into vigorous sing-alongs. As more energy built up at each tune, I could have been attending a major electro-pop festival surrounded by a very young crowd, while the intimacy of the venue triggered plenty of close interactions between the band and the crowd. Sam Hales was restlessly walking on the edge of the stage and stepped several times on a high box while leaning over the crowd. He even jumped in the middle of the audience and made a man play a few guitar riffs while hugging plenty of people. What a love fest it was.
Hales told us they didn’t want to interrupt the enthusiasm with the traditional encore, so they continued, and played their entire set without stopping, feeding on the energy they had built up with such ease.
Many Australian bands (Tame Impala anyone?) have reached amazing global success in a relatively short amount of time… and the scene I witnessed at the Troubadour on Wednesday night could well be predicting a similar ascension for the Jungle Giants.
She’s a Riot
On Your Way Down – video
I Am What You Want Me To Be
People always say
Waiting for a sign
Feel the way I do
Sending Me Ur Loving
Used to be in Love