Live Review: The Jungle Giants, Toucan

13 August 2012 | 4:43 pm | Jan Wisniewski

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Out come Toucan onto the Northcote Social Club stage. Within seconds they launch into their first song. They do well to draw the attention of the eager punters, here to see The Jungle Giants kick-off their She's A Riot national tour. Toucan produce an impressively foreboding big pop sound, considering they rely only on vocals, keyboard and drums to fill out their live show. Jess Pollard is a ball of excitement whose frenetic movements don't stop her trained, jazzy vocals from filling the room. Not to be outdone, Shea Duncan on the keyboard has a touch of the Barry Morgans, smiling his way through the set. Toucan are doing something different from many other of the young and popular brigade at the moment and their genuine enthusiasm is endearing, however the need to go big with every song leaves no room for subtlety. It is the softer, more contemplative Warrior that is the highlight.

Brisbanites The Jungle Giants don't need to do much tonight to get the capacity crowd going, yet there is no sense of complacency in their set as they run through songs off last year's self-titled EP and their newie, She's A Riot. The band sound great and seem perfectly comfortable with their ever-expanding renown. Frontman Sam Hales breaks up the set with some banter from the stage and the audience showers the band in congratulations as he announces that the night is their first sold-out show on their first national tour. New songs, Don't Know What Else To Do and Back To The Start are received warmly, not breaking away too far from their established shimmery indie-pop formula. However, the newer tracks do allow the band to let loose on stage as they explode during the instrumental passages. Bassist Andrew Dooris is a focal point, moving around the stage like a marionette. The standout song is another from the new EP, You've Got Something. A fuller sound with more dynamics allows Hales to show off his impressive pipes. A cover of Band Of Skulls' I Know What I Am also goes down well with Cesira Aitken crunching out a nice solo. Despite Hales seeing fit to interrupt the intro with a self-depreciating reference to his lost capo, Mr Polite is a pretty big happy time for all in attendance. The melody and feel of the song may never be bettered by the band. The Jungle Giants invite Toucan on stage for some tambourine work as they finish off the night with She's A Riot. Shea Duncan lumbers around at the back of the stage like a giant apparition as The Jungle Giants show why they are such a hot prospect.