JAGWAR MA – THE METRO THEATRE, 17/01/14
By H. Ward, Sat 18/01/14
Jagwar Ma bring psychedelic dance to Sydney’s Metro Theatre and prove that they’ve got the moves to back up the debut album, Howlin’.
THE OTHER GUYS: JONTI First to take the stage was the young South African-Australian producer, Jonti. Accompanied by a bassist and drummer, Jonti confessed that this was their first show as a trio. With a mixture of pre-programmed and performed sounds, the young beat-maker certainly had his hands full. A few shaky harmonies and technical struggles suggested a classic case of ‘first-gig-syndrome’, but nonetheless, Jonti had no problem getting the crowd moving, their comical dancing and funky guitar lines keeping the room in a good state of mind. The lad was having the time of his life on that stage.
Jagwar Ma’s debut album ‘Howlin’ had the hype machines whirring in 2013. An incredibly ambitious first album, Jagwar Ma delivered tracks that were both catchy and hypnotic; a rare combo. The slick production on the duo’s debut did raise the question of their ability to perform live, but it is safe to say that any doubts have now been put to rest.
DJ/synth lord Jono Ma could have entertained the crowd single-handedly. Ballsy Moog tones shook the room and Ma’s pulsating acid house beats had the crowd sweating. Recently awarded the prestigious Bear Family’s Bestest Bassist award, Jack Freeman loved every second of the show, jumping higher and harder than anybody in the building. Vocalist/guitarist Gabriel Winterfield provided some brilliant depth with his cleverly tweaked vocals, sing-along choruses and, of course, a big fat Fender Jaguar in his hands.
The crowd, diverse in age for such a modern sounding act, watched with awe as they opened the show with What Love, the first track of the album. The familiar samples, the surprisingly spot-on vocals, the clunky bass guitar; it was safe to say The Metro was in for a good night. The band had entered into a rare format of live performance, somewhere between a traditional rock gig and a big ol’ dance party. It would not be surprising to see other electronic Australian acts imitate such a successful method of live show.
THE HIGHLIGHT Come Save Me, performed mid set, demonstrated how carefully constructed Jagwar Ma’s song-writing actually is. Five catchy-az vocal melodies were counted in this song alone.
THE BAD BIT The single that saw Jagwar Ma hit the roof in Oz was The Throw, featuring another brilliant vocal hook, and big bad jungle bass. Unfortunately, this was the only song they failed to pull off. The downfalls of a well-produced album are often revealed on stage.
THE BANTER “Tonight, I’m gonna be that douche bag.” – as Jonti donned a pair of tinted prescription glasses to see his lap top screen better.
WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE