Gig Review: Bluejuice @ The Prince Bandroom, 9th April

I had seen Bluejuice previously at the Big Day Out, but had only managed to catch half their set and had been no-where near the front of the stage. At the time I didn’t really enjoy it, but afterwards I realised that it probably would have been mad fun if I had just been closer to the stage.

It was therefore with great hope that I headed to the Prince Bandroom last night, to see Bluejuice at a much smaller venue that would be perfectly suited to their sound and packed to the roof with a mass of excited people.

And what we witnessed was a band absolutely and completely in their element.

I arrived right at the start of the second opening act, The Holidays. I started listening to these guys just a few weeks ago after hearing Jonathan Boulet’s remix of their tune Moonlight Hours and have been really enjoying them. We managed to secure a second row spot right in the middle of the stage, which was surprising given that the venue must have surely been near capacity, and settled in to listen to a very enjoyable opening act indeed.

The Holidays perfectly suited the mood in the venue, where the excitement about the impending arrival of Bluejuice was palpable. They played great tunes that were constantly punctuated with the sounds of bongos, adding a bit of extra bounce to every song. A 45 minute set is a long one for an opener, but The Holidays certainly deserved it.

Moonlight Hours was definitely the highlight of their set for me, as it was the only songs of theirs I properly knew, however every song they played had something to offer and there were some tunes that I absolutely loved. There’s not much more I can say here apart from that I was very impressed and look forward to catching the band at a headline show when they next come to Melbourne.

Half an hour seemed like an eternity to wait for Bluejuice, but it passed fairly quickly. Although there was a massive crowd of people behind us, virtually filling the venue, there was no push forward to speak of, which was a nice change. I absolutely love the Prince Bandroom- it has amazing lights and acoustics for a smaller venue, and you can really tell that it was designed for the sole purpose of playing host to bands. $9.50 for a Corona is a joke though.

The PA system shut up, everyone went crazy, and Bluejuice took to the stage. All kinds of crazy were about to break loose.

Bluejuice consists of Jamie Cibej, Jerry Craib, James Hauptmann, and frontmen Jake Stone and Stav Yiannoukas. They are known for their insane live energy and gimmicks, and this gig was no different: all members of the band took to stage wearing karate uniforms.

Wasting no time, the band broke into Can’t Keep Up, a song which not many people in the venue recognised and was a bit of an anti-climax. All was forgotten however with the next song, Miss Johnston, which sent the entire venue into a sweaty moshpit rapture. Straight away it was obvious that Bluejuice were absolute masters of live music- right from the start they had the crowd in the palm of their hands, demanding that the crowd match their own energy.

The crowd for our part certainly didn’t disappoint, especially with the next song, Head Of The Hawk. It was amazing to hear so many voices screaming “I get a little” on command, and the chorus was sung by every person in the Prince Bandroom. Jake lost no time at all in removing his karate robe-come-shirt, and neither did Stav. The energy in the room was just staggering, it was simply so much fun to jump up and down constantly to a song I barely knew, singing along loudly  with lyrics I was picking up as I went.

We Can Get Around It was certainly an early set highlight. It’s definitely a bit of a different song for Bluejuice but it was thoroughly enjoyable live. Little Emperor and a few new songs (I think) kept the mosh going and the energy at a feverpitch as Jake was temporarily lost in a crowd surf before appearing triumphantly back on the stage from nowhere.

Then came the moment I had been waiting for and the highlight of the gig for me: “Good luck and don’t dare give up, give it a little bit of vitriol”. The moment the song started everybody went justifiably nuts, as the excitement and fun levels reached a new unprecedented high. It was so very awesome to scream every single word at the top of my voice and not be able to hear myself at all. After spending the entire song jumping and screaming I was feeling rather light-headed, but it really didn’t matter. What a song it is, and live it was just in a league of its own.

So passed a flurry of songs that I didn’t know at all, but that didn’t stop me thoroughly enjoying them and really getting into them. How could anybody not have been jumping around like a crazy person at this gig? Bluejuice used their energy on stage absolutely perfectly, paying attention to all sides of the venue, getting the crowd clapping at just the right times, crowd-surfing, having call-and-repeat sessions, and stripping, which of course never hurts. At one point Jake and Stav even offered to wear whatever clothes were thrown at them, prompting several keen punters to take off their own shirts and throw them at the stage.

Clearly this extra clothing didn’t have much of an effect however, because by the last few songs, Jake was wearing only his underpants. As crazy as it seems now however this only added to the insane energy in the venue, especially when these the last two songs of the main set were two little numbers called Broken Leg and (Ain’t) Telling The Truth.

Finishing with this double-hit was an absolute masterstroke- Broken Leg saw one of the most enthusiastic moshes of the night as every single person took great pride in screaming along to all the lyrics, even taking over lead vocals for a while: “I’m drooowning!”. (Ain’t) Telling The Truth ensured that the main set ended with yet another massive sing-along, and is a really superb live song.

Even though I couldn’t hear a single word of the band’s banter I got the impression that they themselves were having a really great time and were really appreciative of the amazing reception. And so, duly, they reappeared on stage only a few minutes after leaving it for a one song encore (Jake hadn’t bothered to put any clothes on). The final song of the night was of course Medication, which finished the night with a feverpitch of sweaty jumping and screaming. Live it was just a magnificent song that lifted energy levels to a new high for the night as everybody let off their last remaining enthusiasm.

Suddenly, it was over. Bluejuice had only played for an hour but yet they had crammed this hour with a lifetime’s worth of insanity and fun music.

I enjoyed this gig so much more than I thought I would, and I had always known that it was going to be fun. I certainly hadn’t expected to be jumping and screaming to songs I had never heard before, but such is the way of Bluejuice. They are absolute masters of live music, and the atmosphere at the Prince suited them perfectly.

The songs I didn’t properly know were extremely enjoyable, but the songs I did, such as Vitriol and Broken Leg, were just out of this world. It was a phenomenally fun night, and I can’t recommend strongly enough that casual Bluejuice fans make the effort to see the band live.

Because, just like me, you will go from casual fan to disciple in the space of one insanity-filled hour.

One Response to “Gig Review: Bluejuice @ The Prince Bandroom, 9th April”

  1. Fuck yeah. I’ve seen them once and I’d as hell see them again. One of the most animated, loud jumpy gigs I’ve been to since… The Streets!

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