Just four days after seeing Sticky Fingers with the art felicis crew, I found myself back at The Corner Hotel to see Brisbane band, The Jungle Giants. The indie rock four-piece are currently on what they have called the “Tuss Tour”, which follows their trip to the US for South By Southwest and precedes performances at Groovin’ The Moo and Triple J’s One Night Stand. The tour sees them travel the country with this the first of two Melbourne performances.
The set opened with the band’s first ever single, “Mr Polite”, an obvious fan favourite. It didn’t take long to notice that, as good as they are recorded, The Jungle Giants are a live act, first and foremost. The energy on stage was insane as lead vocalist and guitarist, Sam Hales, put down his guitar, picked up some drumsticks, and went crazy on the drums. A common theme throughout the night, this was just the first showing of the band’s willingness to deviate from their recordings, have a bit of fun, and get the crowd into it.
Between each song, Hales stopped to interact with the crowd, and his adoring fans absolutely bought into it. I don’t think I can remember a time when a band connected with the crowd quite so well. The highlight came after popular hit “Domesticated Man” when Hales showed us his favourite noise on the guitar. He told us that the sound, deadened notes played on the base of the guitar neck, was how every rap song should start. He played it again and was quickly joined by drummer, Keelan Bijker. Then he started rapping. Four words in, with creative lyrics “pussy pussy pussy marijuana”, he abruptly came to a halt, announced he was not going to do this, and moved on with the set. Hales continued to joke throughout, telling the crowd how he’d written “Truth May Hurt” about his struggle to overcome his online gaming addiction. He also had a noticeable hole in his pants, right near his groin, which was made all the more amusing when he mentioned that he loves Melbourne because “the pants are so cheap here”.
Of course, the set was not all about Hales’ interesting sense of humour, or his incredibly frequent use of the f-bomb (which he attributed to being very excited), but about the music. A highlight for me, towards the end of the set, was “Home”. The synthesiser used in the recording was replaced for the live performance with lead guitarist, Cesira Aitken, playing what the band described as a “swaggy jazz guitar solo”, a fairly accurate description. The set then ended with back-to-back crowd pleasers, “I Am What You Want Me to Be” and “She’s a Riot”. The two tunes exemplified what The Jungle Giants are all about: fast-paced happy music, brimming with optimistic naivety and memories of love. The dancing in the crowd and on the stage, particularly from bass guitarist, Andrew Dooris, was intense and just about every fan sang along to every word of both popular hits.
The Jungle Giants left the stage quickly, sparking loud chants of “one more song” as the crowd were desperate for more. Having had a sneak peak at the setlist, I knew what was coming, and most of the crowd would have been equally aware due to the popularity of yet-to-be-played hit, “Skin to Bone”. As predictable as it was, the encore still generated incredible excitement from the crowd. Unfortunately, a group of about ten heavily intoxicated males pushed and shoved violently at the front, to looks of obvious disapproval on Aitken’s face, but the selfishness of a few hooligans could do little to detract from an epic performance. The true fans showed their appreciation by belting along to one last hit while they danced with enough vigour to burn the soles off their shoes.
Come and Be Alone With Me
A Pair of Lovers
You’ve Got Something
Truth May Hurt
I Am What You Want Me to Be
She’s a Riot
Skin to Bone