Friday, September 26, 2014

Jungle at Mohawk

Wednesday night I took a brief respite from the confines of my apartment to watch a band who came all the way from England to perform at the Mohawk. I'm not sure if the show was fully sold out but it certainly felt like there were enough people present. I left the apartment late so I did not arrive in time to catch any of the support acts. Sorry y'all, I'm sure you were great I know I'll be kicking myself in the future for missing you. I entered on the numbered street side (11th?), which ended up being a stupid way to come in because I watched the show from the ground level near the merch booth. Before the merch booth was there, it was my favorite spot to watch an outside show at the Mohawk. For my money, the ground-level of the Mohawk anywhere under the roof gives you the best sound. It's a tricky place to plant though because people are always trying to move in every direction there. I usually try to wedge myself against a wall, like I'm in a rock n roll timeout. I say all of this because Jungle sounded impeccable. Most of their songs have four people singing all at once, which can be a hot mess in a live setting. With seven people on the stage and at least four of them singing, I was incredibly impressed with how balanced everything was. Throughout the first song I assumed they were performing with a backing track because they sounded so good but eventually I started to believe they're just that tight.

Jungle - Time video via YouTube

I had heard good things about Jungle's debut LP, and I knew they earned a lot of buzz at SXSW. I was even able to hear them for a few minutes during Lollapalooza but they certainly lived up to the hype. Their sound draws you in, and as the set progressed you could feel the energy of the crowd elevating. As someone who likes dance and R&B music, I'm really excited about this indie(ish) movement in which the groove is king. Artists like How to Dress Well, FKA Twigs, Jessy Lanza, Chet Faker and inc. are all turning R&B on its head. Stripping the style down to the essence of the groove. Jungle is certainly coming from a more traditional space than the artists I just listed but the groove is still king. When their set started, I was immediately reminded of LCD Soundsystem's Nike Run Mix aka 45:33. Since that mix is intended for a workout, it starts with a sort of warm-up bpm. Whatever the bpm is in Part 2 of that mix, that's Jungle's sweet spot.

After a few songs I dubbed Jungle's sound Chillwave Bee Gees, which kind of means nothing and kind of means everything. There's a band from Australia called, Movement who I think fits this mold as well. It's not straight-up disco, it's more loungey than disco and it's not straight-up R&B either. Whatever you do or don't want to call it, it sounds good and Jungle sounded great playing it. They sounded incredibly slick and I don't expect they'll be doing small club tours for very long. Granted I was on the ground level so I couldn't see the whole crowd but everyone I could see what feelin some type a way about Jungle.

If you're a fan of any of the artist I've listed in this post, you should check out all of the other artists I listed. They don't all sound alike and some are more challenging than others but I feel like if you can appreciate one of them you can appreciate all of them.