Jungle at O2 Academy Leeds – Live Review

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By Jack


Jungle make funk inflected house music as murky, mysterious and challenging as their namesake, and on stage are able to avoid the swampiness of their recorded material.

While their albums are front-loaded with bangers, this set has been manicured perfectly and flows incredibly well. There is no dip, no sag. Even on the more experimental, instrumental fare.

Opener Georgia is much more than a warm-up (more on her here) but the burgeoning crowd were pilling in as the headlining set approached. The opening 1-2-3 of ‘Smile’, ‘Heavy, California’ & ‘Beat 54 (All Good Now)’ make for a bombastic opening trio, and serve as the best material from latest album For Ever.

‘Heavy, California’ in particular was one time, but certainly not the only time, where Jungle had the crowd in the palm of their hand. The bass riff on ‘Heavy’ is one of their best, cutting definitively through the heart of the mix. The loops added sheen and the airy chorus was sung note-perfect.

In fact one aspect Jungle have definitely improved is their harmonising. The gimmick here is that the two frontmen – J & T – both sing, though they appear to have exactly the same voice. This can sound a little thin if wrongly utilised but they reached to their higher register with ease all night.

Fan favourite ‘The Heat’, announcing itself with the wail of sirens, was an early highlight, as was the caterwauling ‘Julia’ with its gloriously OTT titular refrain.

However the question on everybody’s mind was: we closing with ‘Busy Earnin” or ‘Time’? They chose the latter, but such is the esteem with which these songs are held by Jungle fans that they could have played both three times over.

Jungle are rapidly becoming an essential British band, spinning a personal style that they are perfecting. Album three will be the big one for them.

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