Gig Review: The Jezabels @ The East Brunswick Club, 26th November

On Friday night The Jezabels played the first of a series of three sold out shows at the East Brunswick Club. They put on a simply flawless gig that demonstrated why they are pretty much the best thing Australian music has going for it at the moment, as well as why they are already building up an international following despite not having released an full-length album yet. These guys are very, very hot property right now.

I arrived at the venue in time to see a lot of Canada’s Two Hours Traffic, who are following the Jezabels around the country for this tour. I have their latest album to listen to, but unfortunately didn’t have the chance to do so before this set, so I don’t really have many specifics to say about them. They were however very enjoyable. They played heavily-accented, at times pretty rock-y, fun music that warmed up the already sizeable crowd very nicely.

Two Hours Traffic were very impressive in what was by no means an easy support slot, and I look forward to checking out more of their stuff in the very near future.

This was a Jezabels show through and through however, and the crowd built up exponentially as their arrival neared. There’s always been something a bit special about a packed out East Brunswick Club- it’s small enough to be very intimate, but also has a really bubbling atmosphere when full. This would be my second time this year seeing the Jezabels, and after the first show they had a lot to live up to.

Thankfully, from the moment the stage curtains parted to reveal the four people that are The Jezabels, it was clear that this was going to be a show to remember.

With the sound of deafening applause ringing around the venue, the band wasted no time in breaking into Dark Storm, the first track from their latest EP of the same name, and pretty much the perfect opener. These guys have a kind of indescribable feel to their live sound. When their trademark galloping drumbeat underpins wonderfully darkly toned singing and powerful piano, it really does seem like you’re witnessing something magical. There aren’t many bands in the world that do live music as well as this, and I mean that with all sincerity.

For a band with only three EPs, The Jezabels had no problems whatsoever in filling an hour-long set with hits. Be A Star was spectacular- its frantic chorus is still simply mesmerising live. Somehow the band manage to maintain all the feeling and flair of their studio recordings when they play live, but yet they also imbue them with a sense of renewed energy, thanks in no small part to lead singer Hayley Mary’s awesome dance moves. This is a true live band through and through. Easy To Love was just wonderful.

“And you were the one, who thought it was funny that half of the world had never seen money”.

Unmarked Helicopters meanwhile demonstrated perfectly that even the deeper cuts from their EPs are also excellent songs. The response from the crowd throughout the set was nothing short of adoring, but it was also very much deserved. There are of course a few idiots in any crowd, and one guy in particular kept on screaming out “Play Mace Spray!”. For one thing requesting a song that the band are obviously going to play is idiotic in the first place, but there’s also the fact that The Jezabels are an anti-one hit wonder band. Everything they do is gold, and if you ruined the rest of the show for yourself by waiting for one song then that’s really unfortunate.

However he got his wish, and the band did indeed play Mace Spray, lead single from their latest EP ‘Dark Storm’. For me personally it doesn’t really compare to the spearheading songs of their two other EPs, but there can be no denying that it is still a great track in its own right and received a simply enormous response from the crowd, perhaps illustrating that ‘Dark Storm’ has helped The Jezabels find a more extended audience, which they certainly deserve.

My favourite song of theirs, Disco Biscuit Love, was for me a simply perfect five minutes. I know I’ve said it before, but music just doesn’t come much better than this. It’s a such a powerful and at times fairly dark track, but yet it is also so energetic, fun, and bouncy, and when you hear it live you can’t help but sing every line along with the band at the top of your voice. It was magic.

Hurt Me was similarly great, demonstrating the impeccable musicianship of everyone involved in this Sydney outfit. Nik Kaloper was phenomenal on the drums throughout the whole night, as was Samuel Lockwood on guitar and Heather Shannon on keys. Together the band were utterly charming as well, on the few occasions that their rapidfire set was punctuated by banter.

“And use it as a mask to keep you in the dark, when the shadow of the moon won’t do.”

As if I needed another reason to love this band, they didn’t do an encore, which I always find a welcome relief from the played-out and generic process. Besides, there was nothing more they could do to surpass their main set, which was an hour of sheer music joy.

Like I said, this was a flawless show. My setlist order will definitely be a bit off, because when you’re at a Jezabels show you really do just get caught up in the majesty of the whole thing. How they manage to make music this brooding but yet this beautiful and energetic, I will never understand.

This is powerful music, in every possible sense of the world.

If I’m honest with myself, I probably marginally preferred their earlier show I went to this year, although that is only because it was when I was very new to The Jezabels and had no idea what to expect. This time I knew it was going to be amazing, but yet somehow they still managed to blow me away.

There’s something intangibly special about this Sydney band, and with a sound that is unique but yet loses no mass appeal, they are going to be absolutely massive when and if they decide to release a debut album. Hopefully it’s not before they’ve played plenty of other shows exactly like this though.

2 Responses to “Gig Review: The Jezabels @ The East Brunswick Club, 26th November”

  1. As always a tops review. I still haven’t managed to catch them live but should rectify that at Falls in Dec.

    • Thanks man, disappointed I didn’t end up catching one of their other shows in Melbourne, hopefully they’ll be back soon. They will definitely be awesome at Falls.

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