After releasing their outstanding (10/10 Depth rated!) EP, Hidden Pleasure, Bad Juju celebrated with their first headline show. The Melbourne based five piece sold out the Foxxy Dolphin in Melbourne, and put together a nice little bill for the show, including themselves, Clove, and Greyview.
Walking in to Foxxy Dolphin I didn’t know what to expect, but having seen how cosy and tight the room was I could tell this was going to be fun. I also hadn’t been to a floor show for a while, so was excited to see how it would go.
Greyview opened the show, well eventually they did. Technical difficulties struck, delaying kick off for a few extra minutes. Eventually the three piece got going, putting on a very relaxed and decent performance. Their bass heavy sound was funky at times, but was largely punk-rock based. Bassist Paris Rowe made sure their stage presence was solid, dancing and jumping around with the music whilst laying down some groovy tones. The venue was already very hot and sweaty, and kept the vibes high, as passionate vocalist/guitarist Michael McLaren sung his heart out throughout the set.
They were very active on stage, bringing all the energy they could, perhaps too much at times as drummer Joshua Layt dropped his stick and took a good while to pick it back up, which was rough. Despite a few difficulties and perhaps a few errors (forgetting lyrics etc) they kept their heads high. They smiled, laughed, and were clearly having a great time on stage. A memorable quote from the set was “Who’s in for a slight head nod?!”, referring to the go-to dance move of every single show attendee in history. Greyview were fun to watch and I’m excited to see them expand on their sound and develop more as a band.
Next up was Clove, who have been one of my favourite discoveries of this year. Having seen them at multiple shows including Stuck Out’s EP launch show, and Better Half’s EP launch show, Clove have always delivered in their live performances in a big way. Both these sets, (and their fantastic music), is what prompted me to interview them to find out more about them and their history, and after doing that it was great to see them playing again.
Opening up with “Celestial”, they brought the energy from the start. Vocalist Mark Jamieson was especially switched on, actively moving around the space, grooving with the instrumentals and delivering incredibly well vocally. They all gel so well as a live band, and were very tight instrumentally too. A personal favourite of mine, “Negatively Geared”, got the crowd moving and singing along. Then, after playing “Waiting”, we were treated to a new song, “Lighthouse”, which sounded really promising. With this new song Mark appears to be expanding on his vocals somewhat, bringing in more yelling/screaming as opposed to his normal singing, which is intriguing to me as to how Clove are evolving their sound.
Clove’s pace was kept high through “Grey” and “Trend”, with stellar vocal backing from guitarist Luke Petherick and bassist Jared, and exceptional work from Chris Pratt on drums, who rolled between funky, punk-rock beats and intense fast fills like it was nothing. Ben Hyland made their set atmospheric in a way, as his riffs echoed through the room and made it something special. I’m ridiculously excited to hear more of the killer punk riffs of new song “Sober” that we got treated to (hopefully soon?). “I Saw Fire” closed what was an awesome set; a reminder of how Clove never fail to deliver, and are always good to watch, especially because they all look like they have a great time when they play. I can’t wait for new music from them, and hopefully that isn’t too far away.
Finally it was time for Bad Juju. The people streamed in as the room was full to the brim, everyone clearly here to celebrate this special occasion for the Melbourne five piece. As vocalist Russell Holland stepped onto stage everyone got loud, expressing their appreciation and excitement through a whole lot of yelling. Launching into “Run Away”, Bad Juju were off to a hot start. The crowd was into it already, dancing and singing along with Russell as they moved through the first song of the night with a great reception. They continued the high energy into “Pressure” and “Bloom”, while Armarin Saengsri and Abe Miller demonstrated their technical and enjoyable guitar playing ability, moving around relentlessly as they did so.
Russell’s huge vocal talent was truly shining today, as his dynamic mix of singing and screaming gave their sound a huge contrasting feel. With Russell the melodies were gorgeous, and the harsh parts were passionate, and it was a treat to watch. “Healer” had a huge feel to it, and people continued to sing along and have a great time with it. Matthew John on bass and Nick Lucas on drums kept the rhythm on beat, yet still managed to both mix it up in their own ways and both added a bit of flare to what they were playing, especially in “Rejects”.
Then Russell said that this would be their last song, before launching into “Moving On”. Clearly this is their most popular song, as there was a huge pop from the crowd as they started to play it, and everyone really let loose. Jumping dancing and singing with huge smiles on their faces, the crowd was loving it, and so was the band. After they finished “Moving On” there was a lot of applause, before everyone started to realise they hadn’t left stage or started packing up yet. Why was that? All was revealed when Russell said “we have a secret song” before launching into a cover of Jimmy Eat World‘s “Bleed American”. This got everyone going even more, as we gleefully sung along and continued to boogie, closing out the set in a rare and special way.
Bad Juju’s EP launch was a special event. I don’t go to enough floor shows in small intimate venues, and I enjoyed this immensely. The vibes from everywhere were great, and it seemed like everyone there was having a swell time. Bad Juju were excellent, Clove were fantastic, and Greyview were cool.
[All photos courtesy of Albert ‘loves the mosh’ Lamontagne]