Jarryd James @ The Hi Fi, 4th July

It’s a relaxed air around the cavernous Hi Fi as punters of all sizes gather to watch Jarryd James showcase his new album, freshly crafted in the pulsing musical heart of Los Angeles. It’s his first show in his hometown for what seems like eons, and expectations are high.

Bree Tranter opens the night with a smooth and atmospheric act, reminiscent of a space age Kate Bush. Her voice carries over the heads of most of the crowd, a sonorous Sydney girl showing off her new EP and having a mild time of it.

Things pick up as MTNS come out hitting sub-heavy dance vibrations and the room begins to shake as the guitarist delicately places atmospheric tones over humming keyboard chords. The drummer is the most present on the stage and all eyes are on him as he smashes through the last two songs of their set and the room feels physically warmer.

Finally, it’s time. Jarryd James croons to the crowd and they respond in kind, watching him with eyes glossing over like the windows of a car filled with lovers. Half-grooving bass lines lay a foundation for James’ voice to weave in and out of subtle piano chords as the crowd melts along to the first few songs. The punchy Give Me Something picks up the atmosphere as the love ballads start to feel dry.

The set reads like a topographical map, with a number of analogous ballads creating contours, all leading to James’ swan song, Do You Remember, which finishes the performance. The bouncing bass drum and snare rim beat alongside a subtle bass line carry the punchy melody through the room and the crowd sings along, pulsing with the movements of his voice. It hurts to say but even with a voice like his, if Jarryd James doesn’t keep up the momentum created by Do You Remember, his ballads might start falling on deaf ears. However, if being softly sung to by an angelic Brisbane lad is your idea of a good time, Jarryd James can make you happy any night of the week.

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