Jungle at the Olympia Theatre Dublin, 18 February 2019
Jungle return to a sold-out Olympia Theatre for their first Irish headline show since the release of their second album ‘For Ever’ in September of last year. The jam-packed venue hosts an excited crowd which, for a bleak Monday evening in February, is no easy feat.
Long-time listeners can be heard boasting about previous performances caught at Electric Picnic in 2014, while first timers eagerly await the emergence of seven pastelle wearing figures to the stage.
Since the rip-roaring success of their debut self-titled album, founding members Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland were hurtled forward in to a touring frenzy that saw them develop their live set to incorporate a full band. The result? A collective of neo-soul musicians who merge together seamlessly to create the one body and entity of sound that is: Jungle.
The name hangs in golden letters against a black backdrop – simple but undeniably effective as the sign sparks to light and the band open with the pairing of Smile and Heavy, California, both from the new album.
There is nothing overpowering about their performance – be it the creamy falsetto, irresistible grooves or rolling rhythms; every layer blends together to create a perfectly lush sound.
Crowd favourites: Julia, Beat 54 and Casio receive more enthusiasm than others but at no point during the entire set does the crowd come to a stand still. It’s an evening of constant shuffling, bopping and grooving as each funk track rolls in to the next effortlessly. So seamlessly in fact, that the band rarely interrupt the flow to address the crowd.
The wall of golden spotlights behind them stand to prove the lack of spotlight commanded by any singular front man – Lloyd-Watson and McFarland share centre stage with two sets of keys and guitars side by side and instruments exchange hands regularly throughout the night.
Visually, it’s the kind of dazzling Christmas lights set up you could only dream of having on your gaff come December. Combine that with the perfectly queued flashes accompanying every beat dropped by the musicians themselves, and you have the perfect set up for optimal visual satisfaction.
Before long, they’re leaving the stage pre-encore and the crowd welcomes a brief moment to cool down before the inevitable duo of Busy Earnin’ and Time close it all out.
They’ve delivered infectious feel-good tunes without a single falter but, more than that, they’ve delivered an awe-inspiring show. As they wrap arms around each other and take a communal bow to a very deserved rapturous applause, you’re once again left with the affirmation that Jungle really are a group, a strong team, and one very-well-oiled machine.