Words and Photos by Jack Fitch
“Their beats are just sooo stiiiicky” were the words exchanged between two alarmingly pedestrian looking males who almost stuck out in the typically ultra hip Echo Park crowd. On Friday, Jagwar Ma made their last stop in the U.S. (before continuing there UK leg) at Los Angeles’ Echoplex in front of yet another sold out crowd. Word has traveled fast about the Aussie band since the release of their critically-acclaimed and infectious debut album Howlin’ in June of this year. Their reputation for a high-energy dance party clearly precedes them.
Jono Ma hit the stage silhouetted in front of a fluorescent orange-and-green lit back drop and began to move the crowd by way of the recognizable synth-y intro to one of their hit tracks “What Love”. The fun persisted from there, as Gabriel Winterfield led the trio with his flowing vocals which juxtaposed nicely against grinding bass lines. Turning my head from the stage it seemed there was hardly a flat foot in the house. The environment seamlessly slipped from a cool autumn night outside to an electric sweatbox in the venue. Bass guitarist Jack Freeman kept the line steady and at one point dropped into a funk-inspired picking solo. At times, the lights nearly went black, encouraging even the most self-conscious concert goer to shuffle their feet in rhythm.
Chatter was kept to a minimum with the exception of thanking the crowd for, “literally making our dreams come true.” It’s readily apparent this young band is sincerely thankful, and they continue to operate with humility despite their respective successes in previous musical endeavors.
To my amazement Winterfield was able to keep up a nearly continuous jump on stage while maintaining his contagiously catchy riffs. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say his feet spent the majority of the set hovering 3 inches above the floor. The roughly 75 minute set brought a welcomed barrage of sound that was finally capped off with an encore of my personal favorite “The Throw” followed up by “That Loneliness”.
For those who missed the show, right about now you may be squirming in regret because they’ve left the country… Lucky for you, they’ve announced their stateside return in late November in Chicago and will be back in LA at the El Rey Theater on December 13th. See you there!