Concrete Jungle @ Serafini Chains, 11th April

In November last year local arts organisation, Jungle Love, held a boutique music festival showcasing some of Brisbane’s hidden gems in the picturesque lake side town of Moogreah. After the success of the debut festival the dudes and dudettes at Jungle Love have decided to bring the event back home to Brisbane at a smaller and more intimate location in the warehouse district of Bowen Hills, AKA the Concrete Jungle.

It’s quite early in the piece when I arrive so the crowd mostly consists of artists and performers. I’m greeted by the glorious smell of Mexican food and spray paint. Inside, chains and machinery frame the stage, and there is an overwhelming perfume of lacquer and dust. Bosnian-born singer songwriter Amela is first to take the stage with her new ensemble, she takes a more contemporary approach to what I have seen previously. There is rich anecdotal sentiment to her lyrics and the robust, folky texture of her band blend together to create a powerful sound, similar to First Aid Kit or Laura Marling. 

Next to hit the stage is HRBRT, with their combination of jazz, hip-hop and soul. Without a vocalist, the eight piece have the freedom to max out their own instruments. They pump out an infectiously full sound of horns, piano and drums that build and shred.  I wish these guys were on a little later because this music  deserves to be danced to.

The audience blooms as Allthingslost (local Brisbane producer Abraham Tilbury) takes to the side stage. His sound is dense and solemn, with easy-going beats and dense layering, it’s a nice combination of hip-hop and low lying tempos.

Tin Can Radio take to the main stage and provide a really heavy sound comprising jazz, grunge and electronica elements. I like the vibe it’s giving off, but I’m a little confused as to whether this combination works, as all the songs blend together in their commonality.

After a couple of Sailor Jerrys and an excellent Burrito Bowl, I wander into the the main stage to watch the magnificent Michelle Xen + The Neon Wild. If there’s one thing I can say about Michelle, it’s that she’s a true performer; she’s a living, breathing fireball of talent. The band are dressed in outrageously bright and wacky costumes, and really lay into their instruments. Through an equaliser, Michelle’s vocals are morphed into growling, masculine grunts which make her flawless falsettos sound that much more angelic. The band do a excellent cover of Kendick Lamar’s Swimming Pools, which is ironic, because looking around everyone in the crowd is drank.

Everything turns a little Jamaican as the clock strikes 10 and The Rhythm Hunters enter the stage. These guys have a heap of physical energy which makes me feel like I’m back at Tuesday night Zumba.  Their rich harmonies and everlasting bongo beats cause the sweat levels in the building rise to the extreme. The Central Coast roots get-up definitely pump out the ‘wow’ factor.

I finish the night getting lost in the soul-tastic vibes of Desmond Cheese, arguably the best thing since sliced bread. The ambience is perfectly mellow and the soothing beats put me into a glorious sound coma. The acoustics inside the warehouse are so tight that the sound circles and resonates. Looking around, everybody is having a fantastic time.  There’re no douchie festival punters or camera phones blocking your sight, just a bunch of music loving people celebrating great artistry.

I’m really pleased with what Jungle Love are doing for the Brisbane Music scene and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got installed next.

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