The Jungle Giants heat up the Triffid, 17th June

The Jungle Giants are back on home turf to begin their Together We Can Work Together tour at the Triffid.  I’m excited to see the band perform tonight, I’ve often been quoted that their 2015 album Speakerzoid was my favourite album of the year.  As I walk towards the venue, I see a line that bends outside onto the street.  A line of fresh faced boys and teeny-boppin’ girls stand outside in what seems like a lineup for the Big W Toy Sale.  I remember it’s an under 18s gig.  To my slight enjoyment, the teens are ushered upstairs to the top floor of the venue, making it harder for them to slip down to use their fake IDs.

I make my way into the air-conditioned airplane hangar as Gideon Bensen finishes on stage.  I get a shock of noisy electronic pop through the system, but unfortunately just as I become interested the set finishes.

The crowd are drunk early, I’ve already been stood on four times and shoved by a group of hooligans who like to wear hats at night time.  The Lulu Raes make the stage in their Adidas tracksuit, baggy t-shirts, and football fleece, packing more guitars than a Swedish death metal band.  Lacking the brutality of death metal, the Lulu Raes play bright pop-rock that the crowd automatically associate with Sticky Fingers.  I can’t help but make the same comparison as the lead vocalist pushes out vocal lines that not only sound like Sticky Fingers/DMAs, but I can trace the lineage back to Oasis in the 90s and further back to Stone Roses in the 80s.  As I look from the crowd, it seems as if the vocalist is really struggling to push out the higher notes.  It all seems too forced, from the sense of falseness in the vocals, to the getup the boys have on stage.  I’ll admit, their music is catchy but I couldn’t get into it.

The Jungle Giants make the stage against a flurry of bright flashing lights behind them.  Boxes are haphazardly stacked behind them, blinking different images and lights.  Their production value has certainly improved since I saw them last, the lights are almost blinding.  I wish I brought my hat.  The crowd cheer as they begin playing throwback tracks off of their early EPs.  Mr Polite and You’ve Got Something make early appearances in the set list.  Vocalist Sam Hale interacts passionately with the crowd as he stands above them playing his guitar.  The energy on stage is infectious, guitarist Cesira solos on guitar while the smile from the bassist, Dooris, beams to the back of the room.  Creepy Cool, one of my favourite tracks, begins.  The solid drum beat kicks me back into a groove, my hips begin to swing.  In what was quite possibly the highlight of the night, the band quickly transitions to Lemon Myrtle.  Dooris’ bass is thick and punches through the crowd.  Hale takes on an aura of Beck on stage in one of the funkiest songs in their catalogue.

The set continues taking songs from various albums though not every song gets the respect from the crowd as it deserves.  Together We Can Work Together doesn’t have the same effect on the crowd as Mr. Polite, though I groove and sing along nonetheless.  Hale announces that he wants us to all get weird as they play their final song, Devil’s Play, one of the more experimental tracks on Speakerzoid.  I’m down, but most of the crowd stand their lifeless.  Just before the end of song, the microphones cut out.  The music stops.  Hale tries to speak into the mic but we can’t hear anything.  The crowd start to murmur and I’m pushed aside by a man with a torch making his way to the front.  The alarms begin to stir, we’re being told to evacuate.  I yell out, “fuck it, I’ll go down with the band,” but that doesn’t stop me being carried away with the sea of people.

The firetrucks have already arrived by the time I hit the street.  No one understands what is going on, but I see the band walk outside too.  Hale yells out that he has two more songs to play, but after close to half an hour waiting outside I decide to call it a night.  From what I hear the Jungle Giants went on to play, and those last two songs were magical.  But by that time, I was pushing up the z’s.

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