In the country for a string of sold out shows, Jungle played their second Sydney show of the tour and brought the Enmore Theatre crowd to life with their own brand of downbeat dance music. Playing their second Sydney show of the tour (after a headlining slot at last week’s Bad Friday Festival), the seven-piece lords of funk went about proving they are more than capable of crushing their live sets and setting rooms on fire at the same time.
Opening up the night was English artist Georgia. With only the one album and a couple additional singles to her name, it was always going to be tough for an artist most of the Sydney crowd were unfamiliar with to truly command the stage. With a sound somewhere between Robyn, Sigrid and Chvrches, Georgia played a surprisingly fun thirty minute set to the crowd that came along early. With new single “About Work The Dancefloor” proving to be an infectious synth driven track, Georgia left an unmistakable impression on the Sydney crowd.
As regular travellers to Australia, Jungle have garnered a loyal and large following. On the back of two albums, including 2018’s For Ever, there was no surprise at all that the band have managed to build a live show so slick and well oiled that you’d forgiven in thinking they were actually WD-40. Having seen Jungle twice prior to this set, I knew what the touring seven piece were capable of delivering. With an even weighted set borrowing from both their albums, the ease in which they delivered a seventeen track set more than justifies their place as downbeat dance-party starters.
Coming straight out of the gates with the infectious one-two of “Smile” and “Heavy, California”, the funk was turned up to eleven as the crowd frothed on the dual vocals of Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland. Enigmatic since their inception, the two front men and their caramel vocals had the downstairs dance floor heaving, whilst upstairs were slowly but surely leaving their seats to dance in the aisles.
The police siren encrusted “The Heat” had more than a few punters looking over their shoulders as the smell of a couple spliffs wafted upstairs from down below. The percussion on “Julia” went next level in its closing stages, as the congas kicked in and the dance floor was filled more than a couple loose units having a great time cutting shapes. The chorus and slow clap in “Happy Man” were appreciated, while the cow-bell and bass on “Beat 54 (All Good Now)” came into their own and left me more than happy to join the throng of dancers upstairs.
The songs from the middle stages of the set did tend to blend into each other, as the slower “Cherry”, “Pray”, “Lucky I Got What I Want” and “Platoon” became a fifteen minute sequence of what kind of felt like the same song. With this part of the set allowing everyone the chance to catch their breath, the set began to wind up, as “Casio” went next level juicy and gained one of the larger responses from the crowd all night.
With very limited chat from the band during the set, before you knew it the main set was coming to a close, as they thanked everyone for turning up on the night, as well as every other time they’ve toured in the country. Graduating from Oxford Art Factory to the Enmore Theatre is no mean feat, and you could tell the band were grateful for the following they’ve developed over the past five years.
Returning for a brief encore including their biggest track (“Busy Earnin'”) and closer “Time”, the band encouraged the crowd to cut loose one last time. Judging by the considerable bounce that you could feel in the upstairs lounge, it was fair to say that the crowd took the advice on board.
With their entire tour sold out, Jungle are well on their way to cementing their place as one of the premier live dance acts around the globe; that’s if they’re not there already.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Jungle complete their Australian tour this weekend with the following dates:
Saturday 27 April – The Forum, Melbourne
Sunday 28 April – The Forum, Melbourne.
Header Photo by Daniel Hanssen