Live Review: Philadelphia Grand Jury + High-tails + West Thebarton Brothel Party – Jive, Adelaide (29.10.15)

The Philadelphia Grand Jury came back through Adelaide on a Thursday night ready to showcase new album Summer of Doom. Five years or so ago, they were on this same stage at Jive, the first time I can recall seeing them perform. They were without Dan W. Sweat at that point but all the same, it was a helluva show. Fast forward a few years to when Berkfinger had returned to Australia with his Feelings project and the reunion of the original Philly Jays line up had fans around country excited about the concept of more shows.

And after band struggles, numerous bouts of creative back and forth, here we are. The trio are on stage, performing material both new and old and most importantly, looking excellent doing so.

West Thebarton Brothel Party and High-tails were on support duties – two bands lined up perfectly to warm up this kind of crowd. The Adelaide boys have recently wound up some well-received shows supporting fellow SA rockers Bad//Dreems and the effervescence of having the opportunity to take their music to larger stages hasn’t waned any. I’d never seen High-tails before, but the laddish Jamie T-esque style they harnessed and delivered through some great guitar pop worked well and I’d be keen to see how they continue to develop next year.

The Philly Jays took to the stage in their usual style: from Berkfinger’s pre-recorded bits of banter, through to the undeniable stage presence MC Bad Genius maintains on stage all his own, all the foundations were laid early on. Unfortunately, there were tech issues that marred what would have been a 10 out of 10 for sure. Some of the pre-records were out of sync, Berkfinger had a guitar string snap early on, by the end of the set some of the microphones had also cut. But to give the Philly Jays their due, they rocked on and the crowd carried them on just as well. The music they’ve produced has always made people happy and looking around at the crowd during the set, the smiles never faded. “Ready to Roll”, “I Don’t Want to Party”, “Wet Winter Holiday” and “Save Our Town” had the audience singing along strong, while the newer material also brought with it decent applause. Watching MC Bad Genius werking it madly between bass, guitar and keys duties while Dan W. Sweat drummed with ferocious glee was entertaining in itself, Berkfinger himself projecting huge levels of energy out on to the crowd quite literally, launching himself out for a traditional crowd surf.

Their beloved cover of “99 Problems” saw both Berkfinger and MC Bad Genius in the sweaty throes of punters, hugging crowd members, smiles bigger than they were at the beginning of the show. The buzz in the room was electric and as always, there’s a certain unique enthusiasm that follows the Philadelphia Grand Jury at each show of theirs, no matter how much time passes in between. It’s great to have them back.


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