Photos (c) ShotAway
People both young and old were thrown back to a golden era of dance music.
To think that Jungle became famous from shrouding themselves in a smokescreen of anonymity is a tad naive. Many have before – take hard pop group Wu Lyf, who initially created a buzz from a picture of a group of youths with headscarves on and hands up in red and blue smoke. Aaron Jerome who performs as SBTRKT still prefers to be anonymous sporting different Native American ceremonial masks to hide his identity. Yet at the end of the day no matter how much press there is from what isn’t known about the artist, the music still has to deliver. Thankfully the lack of a face to associate to Jungle wasn’t the only intriguing thing about them. Turns out they also bring zany fresh funk to the table, and what a grand banquet they have for us.
For starters we had the brooding ‘Platoon’ which practically glistens with a 1970’s disco sheen through slow broken beats. The main course came in 2014, ‘Busy Earnin’ communicated to almost everyone who knows the strain of working too hard and having no time for leisure. And in no plain way, drawn out synths, groovy trumpets, hazy guitars – Jungle know how to get us listening. Dessert is just as good, the ambient sun strum of ‘The Heat’ perfectly rounded off a great round of singles from Jungle. Now it’s time to see how Jungle fare on the stage in Bristol, and the question is – can they handle the heat?
The answer is unclear, and the crowd were angsty until the arrival of Clarence Clarity. Serving up a platter of dirty cosmic rock with touches of muddled fuzz and distortion and funk flourishes, it went down a treat. The only downside would be that they change pace quicker than they perhaps should given that the majority of the audience don’t know what they’re listening to. But otherwise Clarence Clarity are the punk hippies of tomorrow’s world, bleeding the hardest edges of guitar rock into the twinkly psychedelics.
Now to answer my previous question, Jungle can definitely handle the heat, and the O2 Academy for that matter. Think of Chic broken up into shimmering shards of two-step brassy beats that you just cannot help but groove along to. Favourites like ‘Platoon’, ‘Busy Earnin’ and ‘The Heat’ weren’t the only tunes that the O2 Academy crowd went wild for. ‘Julia’ was just as jaunty and slick live on stage as on record, ‘Crumbler’ stood on it’s own as a soulfully spun 70’s crooner made for a late night on a flashing dancefloor. A lesser known track of the group where more than a few people murmured “I haven’t heard this one before” in a disgruntled manner, ended on such a high that the very same people were happily dancing to the very same track ‘Drops’ until the moment that “this one” ended. Finale ‘Time’ perfectly rounded off what was without doubt a fantastic night where people young and old were thrown back to a golden era of dance music. Bright lights, ambient funk, and plenty of boogie.
Check out ‘Time’ right here: