"We can't help but think that they're probably one of the raddest live acts Australia has produced in recent times."
There are some gigs where everything just comes together and you get something pretty close to perfection. That was pretty much the case as the super-stoked, all ages crowd packed out the Metro for the second very sold out show for The Jungle Giants.
Evan Klar, the first support of the night, kicked things off in a big way. It was hard to tell if the generally younger skewed crowd were going off so early in the night because Klar knows how the bring it or because of the general excitement surrounding getting lit on a school night but the fact stands that things got crazy early. Evan Klar was a fun performer, who built great rapport with the crowd and whose songs were the catchy type that made you wanna move. Supported by two drummers, a keyboardist, bassist and cello, the energy on stage matched that in the audience.
Alice Ivy was up next, doing her own set up pre-performance and earning her fair share of premature show-starting whoops from the front row each time she veered past the mic. When she finally took the stage for real she started with a promise; "We're gonna party for the next forty minutes" - and then we did. Alice Ivy brought some DJ party vibes to The Metro; a set filled with beats and drops. Full of energy, Ivy jumped around the stage with exuberance and alternated between her guitar, sample pad and mic. As a fun surprise, E^st joined her on stage for her second last track Get Me A Drink.
The main act started with a big entrance, a trippy lighting display and an ambient, rising overture setting the scene for something big. The Jungle Giants are touring their dynamite latest album Quiet Ferocity but that didn't stop them from stacking the setlist with all of their best tracks from across their three albums. Kicking off with On Your Way Down from Quiet Ferocity, they followed it up immediately by She's A Riot and Anywhere Else from Learn To Exist, which judging by the vibe got everyone onside very early.
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Fuck, these guys have stage presence! As they play song after song with hardly a lull all evening, we can't help but think that they're probably one of the raddest live acts Australia has produced in recent times. The set was tight, with frontman Sam Hales sometimes pulling off seamless guitar swaps mid-song without missing a beat. The lighting design was phenomenal, assaultive and relentless - the one caveat being that the constant heavy use of haze and contrasty lighting meant that drummer Keelan Bijker and lead guitarist Cesira Aitken were often rendered invisible at the back of the stage, which was a particular shame because Aitken has mastered the ancient art of the guitar power stance and should have been given greater opportunity to showcase it.
Notable highlights of the evening included when Hales and Aitken left the stage to let Bijker and bassist Andrew Dooris to rock their way through an instrumental interlude. I Am What You Want Me To Be brought the house down, as did Bad Dream. They finished the main set explosively with Used To Be In Love. The encore was well-earned but brief - what's that old saying? Always leave them wanting more? Well, we did leave that way - would it have killed them to have thrown in Domesticated Man, Skin To Bone or Come & Be Alone With Me?
The Metro is one of our favourite venues in Sydney. It's big enough that when it's sold out it feels as packed as a rock concert can be, without being stifling, and yet small enough that the performance is always intimate and the energy of your fellow punters reverberates and echoes against the walls, exponentially feeding the communal vibe. The gig showed that when you get a great venue, a primed enthusiastic crowd and a band whose music feels made for the stage bringing their absolute A-game, something special, almost religious, happens. Kudos, The Jungle Giants, you bloody did it.