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LIVE REVIEW: Cameras, Cowboy Hats, and Choruses with The Jungle Giants at The Tivoli

Image by Jo Duck

The Jungle Giants are one of Australia’s most celebrated bands for a reason- across both studio recordings and live shows, their music is undeniably, infectiously good. We recently headed to the Tivoli, Brisbane for the hometown leg of their Trippin Up Tour to take it all in live. I’ve seen The Jungle Giants before at festivals, and they’ve always been one of my favourite acts, but there’s something so nice about being at a dedicated concert- the energy is just that bit more charged and excited with everyone amped up to see that one band they really love.

After EDM artist Aroha warmed the crowd up with a DJ set, Sydney / Eora’s psychedelic rockers The Lazy Eyes took to the stage. It was my first time seeing The Lazy Eyes perform and I was totally blown away by their stage presence. They started with an immersive, instrumental piece, appropriately named ‘Trance’, before moving into a blend of songs from their eps and album SongBook, with some fun medleys and covers mixed in.

The synth in the ‘I Just Don't Know Yet / How Does It Feel’ medley was brilliant, as was their Like A Version cover of the Bee Gees 'More Than a Woman'.

The Jungle Giants were, of course, ridiculously fun as soon as they stepped onto the stage. They started with ‘Something Got Between Us’ from their 2021 album Love Signs and the crowd got into it right away, singing to the refrain of ‘Never gonna let you go not this time!’, and dancing along with vocalist Sam Hales. Every corner of the venue- the gallery, the main crowd, the side areas- was absolutely filled with people having a great time.

The band thanked the crowd for selling out the Tivoli, and then proceeded to put on a show that showed you exactly why they did.

They moved into ‘Sending Me Your Loving’ to cheers of approval, and the set continued in similar fashion, with hit after massive hit.

From where we were standing towards the side of the venue, we could see most of the audience- and throughout the crowd, there was an abundance of cowboy hats. Spectacular, bedazzled, DIY cowboy hats. There was a reason for this-Hales explained that the band was raising money for Beyond Blue by collecting the hats, and urged fans to chuck them on stage or even directly to his head- leading to a couple of minutes of cowboy hats flying through the air, and the singer darting around trying to land one on his head.

Hales exclaims that he ‘wishes we could see just how good we look’, and then throws a bunch of disposable cameras in the crowd, instructing us to take a pic with friends and pass it on. The cameras made it to all areas of the crowd- Hales throws a camera up to the balcony, and a girl standing at the edge makes an impressive catch before snapping a pic.

The Jungle Giants played a new song, ‘Rakata’ that they made in collaboration with Mexican artist RENEE, speaking a bit about the collaborative process beforehand. It’s a really fun one- a unique moment in their set, a bit more R&B, with a more dreamy psychedelic vibe to it.

They play a few more songs, and before ending the show, thank everyone in the crew by name and reaffirm themselves in my head as some of the nicest in the biz.

After chants of ‘One more song!’ the band takes to the stage for an encore. Hales dedicates ‘You’ve Got Something’ to his mother, telling the crowd it was one of the first songs he wrote, going over and over to get it right and probably driving her crazy in the process. After that, the band calls for the crowd to summon the rest of their energy for two of their biggest hits, ‘Heavy Hearted’ and ‘Used to be in Love’, and we all have one last dance.


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