[ Photos by Jen Strogatz ]
[ Review by Jen Strogatz ]
Let me first start off by saying that I have been playing the Jungle Giants‘ Spotify playlist everywhere I go ever since I received word that they’d be coming to Philly for a show at Johnny Brenda’s. Mind you, this is a rarity for me because I have a terrible case of music ADD and I can’t remember the last time that I was able to listen to an album all the way through – actually liking every song – since the era of *NSYNC (don’t judge me… JT was/is the man).
I was looking forward to seeing this four-person Australian band live and they definitely did not disappoint. Johnny Brenda’s happened to be the perfect venue for the Jungle Giants — smaller, intimate, great acoustics, and the right amount of space for them to really get the audience involved.
Frontman and guitarist Sam Hales happens to be one of the most dynamic frontmen I have seen in a while, his energy on stage is contagious and his vocals make you want to get up and dance. Throughout the night, he would jump up onto the platform in front of the stage, singing right into the audience. He actually leapt off the stage at one point and went over into the crowd, hugging his fans and dancing with them. These are the kinds of shows that really make an impact in my mind, there’s definitely something to be said for artists who engage with their audience and make the show an interactive one.
Another thing worth mentioning is that slammin’ on the lead guitar was Cesira Aitken, a badass chick who held her own amongst the guys and was laying down sick guitar riffs with the best of them. Andrew Dooris, who plays bass as well as backup vocals, reminded me of someone straight out of the 90’s grunge scene, head banging as he played his bass. And on drums was Keelan Bijker, who rocked kept the beat in the background as the rest of them put on the show of a lifetime!
The band ended the show by walking off stage and speaking with their fans, which I really enjoyed. I actually got lead singer, Sam Hales his first ever pickleback shot, which I (think?) he enjoyed. Regardless, the band was down-to-earth, friendly, and pretty funny, so it was a great experience and I will continue to turn all my friends onto the Jungle Giants!
Additionally, I was able to speak with the band’s bassist, Andrew Dooris, for a quick interview. He was kind enough to answer some of my (sometimes crazy) questions regarding Australia, and the band’s history, and how they became the Jungle Giants — My new favorite band…
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