Concert Review: Jungle, June 17, 9:30 Club


I first heard about Jungle after my friends returned from the epic musical adventure that is Coachella. In general, Coachella alumni return tan, happy… and devoid of details. Comments are usually along the lines of:
“Oh my god, such a good time…. I mean the bands kinda blur together but it was AMAZING.”
“I LOVE California. West coast best coast right?? And yeah I mean I guess what I remember of the music was…. good.”

But this year, one detail was clear to all my returning friends: Jungle rocked. The best live act ever. The most hypnotic show they’d seen in years. Addictive beats. Great vibe. Amazing presence.

Listening to the band’s work online, I was pumped. The group definitely generates dance-ready beats and funk-infused rhythms that get your toe-tapping instantaneously. And their music videos are so beautifully but casually choreographed – I couldn’t wait to see them bust a move in person. Adding to my anticipation was the general buzz the band has generated, as reported by the 9:30 Club: “earning the BBC Sound of 2014 nomination, the 4 millions plus plays of the ‘Platoon’ video, and the US tour that sold out on the back of their SXSW appearance before Jungle even had an official record out in America – it’s a DIY story.” The all-knowing Wikipedia also promised great things, describing Jungle’s musical style as incorporating “tropical percussion, wildlife noises, falsetto yelps, psychedelic washes and badoinking bass… with a fearsome live reputation.”

All proved true. The 9:30 Club was packed with expectant fans (many sporting Coachella Tees… others in belly shirts, some in overalls, lots of neck tattoos – a great crowd!) who erupted when Jungle appeared on scene. The group didn’t have a lot of room to move, but the lack of space didn’t impede the power of their performance. Flashing lights, pulsing strobes, and non-stop-max-beats kept the audience dancing, singing, and smiling ear to ear the entire time. I’d read somewhere that the band’s leaders, known simply as “J” and “T” make an effort to disappear behind their music to make the experience and connection between listener and sound more intimate. While I wasn’t sure what that meant when I was reading it, I became, perhaps paradoxically, very aware of how invisible the group made themselves as they performed. They had very limited banter, and really only spoke when the stage lights were blacked out – their faces were never fully illuminated – it was like they faded away. However, they did it in a way that didn’t create any type of absent or disconnected feeling. Instead, in-line with what I read, it just made it feel like there was nothing between me and their catchy hypnotic psychedelic funk. Julia, my favorite song, was specifically powerful-feeling when they performed it live, making the crowd come alive in a way that felt magically independently energized without any urging from the band members.

‘Twas great. These guys are definitely worth seeing live – I have a feeling they’re only going to get bigger faster, so catch them while you can!

Posted on by halley in Concerts

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