A classic stuck behind the six-footers gig for Getintothis’ shortarse Emma Walsh, but a neck strain well worth it for Jungle at the O2 Academy.
Peering between the jostling heads and shoulders we could just about see the illuminated U, G and occassionally the E of the neon sign that backdropped the stage. Fortunately, the smartphone generation were on hand to offer a hundred tiny windows on the otherwise obscured. They get a hard time those happy snappers who find it necessary to record entire blurry, fuzzy songs as tokens of a gig, when once a ticket stub was enough, but the pocket sized of us at Getintothis have really come to appreciate the HD vision smartphones can offer, seriously, it’s almost like being there in real life.
Opening with an epileptic fit inducing blast of lights, Platoon got the crowd into an immediate groove that didn’t let up throughout. From there Julia and The Heat kept everyone suitably jazzed, the disco lights casting shadows of the elusive J and T onto the ceiling.
Smoking Pixels opens with a Spaghetti Western whistle over the cool vice cop show funky vibe that so emulates Jungle’s style, and draws the instrumental to a ribcage tickling reverb finish.
The slick lighting design turns to a purple haze for Accelerate as one lone gent sways in front of us holding an e-cig aloft while blowing the vapours upward. There’s a bit of a surreal atmosphere to be had at a Jungle gig, no doubt a credit to their infectious funk, which draws people from every walk of life to sway together.
There’s little chit chat from the band and little need for it with a sound that so speaks for itself but the Jungle lads did take a moment to recognise that while most of the band were “southern fairies” there was a genuine Scouser among them who was enjoying something of a homecoming on the O2 stage, met, naturally, with raucous applause from the Liverpool audience.
It’s almost inconceivable how damn good Jungle are live with a set up so tight you could easily be listening to the album, they’re flawless down to the clang of every cowbell. When we first caught them at last year’s Sound City it was our last hurrah on the Saturday night, needless to say many beers had been had by that point and Jungle offered the ideal riot to end on a high. This time round it was a much more sober affair (for us at least) and while shapes thrown may have been a little less garish, it detracted nothing from the set.
Throwing out their big hitter Busy Earnin’ to the crowd’s delight, Jungle drew out their penultimate tune, revelling in the renewed buzz of the audience before leaving them on tenterhooks for the inevitable encore of Time.
In and out in little more than an hour, Jungle boast the kind of wham-bam-thank-you-mam set full of big hitters that seems tailor made for a festival headline set and with only one album under the belt it’s not a case of trying to squeeze in every classic possible.
Luckily every string to their bow so far is laced with pure gold. One can only imagine the black magic they’re going to conjure for the follow up album – hopefully, we won’t have to imagine for too much longer though.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Michael Kirkham: