Concert Reviews

Jungle, Empress Of at The Danforth Music Hall

Photographs by Sarah Rix.

Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson are responsible for creating one of the year’s most original and compelling albums.  The soul meets disco meets rock/pop melting pot of their eponymous debut with the moniker Jungle.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I made my way to the Danforth Music Hall on a cold and damp Monday night, but whatever expectations I had were completely blown away right from the get go.

Taking to centre stage promptly they were flanked by five additional members – two backing vocalists, a drummer, a percussionist and guitarist and they hit the ground running with “Platoon”.

Let’s get the one gripe out of the way – this show would have been better suited at the Phoenix – better sound and a slightly smaller capacity than the cavernous Music Hall.  While the floor was pretty packed, the balcony was empty.

This was Jungle’s second appearance in town – following a gig at Lee’s Palace earlier in the year, McFarland seemed genuinely moved by the crowd’s rapturous reaction, but the band should also accept responsibility for delivering such a phenomenal performance.

The energy that came from the seven, in addition to a light show that suggested they’ve been in the business longer than just shy of two years really helped foster the party vibe;  the crowd danced on Monday like it was Saturday!

The songs were the stars of the night and they all sounded awesome.  Percussion and guitar soundscapes are more discreet on the album, but live they were front and centre, along with the falsetto vocals and booming bass that gave the songs weight to really connect with the crowd.

With only the one album, Jungle aired most of it and were gone in just under an hour after taking the stage.  The venue was cold when the night began, but crowd and band made for an hour long escape from the dreary outdoors with a feast for the ears, eyes and hips.  Definitely one of my top 5 gigs of the year.

About author

Concert reviewer at Live in Limbo.