Monday, July 12, 2010

Jinja Safari Debut Headline Show

Spectrum 9/7/2010

Opening to the punctual kids, Lincoln Davis hummed folk niceties, neither attention-grabbing nor uninteresting but somewhere in between. His sharp classical guitar fretwork was notably commendable; his bizarre heavy metal moan/growl at the end of song Life was not.

Recently signed to Ivy League, Justin Wonsley Snowball aka Wons Phreely has taken to the road to share his enjoyable ‘good times’ music. Tracks like The World Has a Bank Account showed the group’s indie-pop prowess with its perky melody and witty lyrics. With a pocketful of charm and a handful of lollies, Wons won us over.

In the space of 5 months, cyclone Jinja has left a destructive path of fan adoration and industry attention. We’ve seen the birth and boom of Jinja Safari, their tumultuous live shows, the deserved winning of a spot opening Splendour in the Grass (cue euphoric screaming and hyper ventilating) and now this- their first headline show.

Bounding on stage with customary pep and exuberance, the venue now filled with a crowd braced for dancing, Hiccups’ frantic percussion and delectable melody ignited the sweaty celebrations. Picture this: a throng of animal-disguised, Jinja-crazed ruffians transformed into one gyrating motion of hip-shaking, hand-raising and feet-stomping. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Pepa Knight’s glorious sitar interlude beckoned the dreamy musical chimings of Peter Pan. Normally reserved for more established bands, the sing-along from the audience was remarkable; testament to the tunes lyrical irresistibility. The song delicately unwinds into the harmonies of “giant mysterious swell that rolls over the treetops it will sway” and the hypnotised crowd is left hazy, as if awakening from some magical musically-induced coma.

Following this was the playful pop-romp, Families complete with encouraged ‘ugly dancing’. Percussionist Alister Roach showed how it was done, bursting with untamed ferocity between djembe-jams (did you know that the djembe drum in its native tongue means ‘everyone gather together’? Incredibly fitting for a song titled Families don’t you think? Jinja Safari, uniting people since 2010.)

The band closed with two of their most explosive tracks, Forest Eyes (imagine Paul Simon and Ezra Koenig collaborating, and then imagine it being outdone by this beguiling wonder tune) and Mermaid; a song regarding the pains of unrequited love with these mythical sea babes. Both numbers spurred uncontrollable fits of ecstasy, both on and offstage. A suitable finish to a vigorous (vigorous is an understatement, lets just say if these guys were in the Olympics I’d check them for steroid use) and flawless performance.

No encore was met by a mixed response; personally I wished the show could have continued into the wee hours of forever but my aching body, teetering on the edge of exhaustion, welcomed the end with open arms.

Jinja Safari has a strange effect on me- with every listen, my thirst is left unsatisfied. However this is not due to a substandard performance but rather my appetite for their lavish joy-jives continuing to grow into an unquenchable monster. It’s a curse Jinja will have to live with but will inherently lead to their total and utter domination of the musical world’s brain space, playlists and airwaves. And if you think this sounds hyped, come to their next show and tell me otherwise.




Peter Pan




Forest Eyes


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