‘So You Think You Can Karaoke?’ MC Bad Genius talks us through the latest Philly Jays tour plans

The Philadelphia Grand Jury are soon to be hitting the road for what’s likely to be some of their craziest shows. They’re inviting fans to join them onstage for some wild karaoke sessions as part of their So You Think You Can Philly Jays? tour and admittedly, even they’re in two minds about how this going to go down.

“I think it’s really exciting,” MC Bad Genius tells us. “I think that playing these kinds of shows, where we’ve literally had no idea how they were going to go. They could be spectacular or they could be spectacularly awful, you know?”

“I think that that nervousness around how they’re going to go is really exciting. I think people will love it. I think people will really get on board with the concept, but how they’ll actually play themselves out on the night is still up for grabs.”

The tour takes the trio right around the country at the end of the month and through into June, following on some cheeky headline dates last month.

“I do feel guilty talking about it,” MC Bad Genius (aka Joel Beeson) admits. “Considering we’re not going to be in Adelaide this time…”

Guilt aside, he reflects on the Philly Jays’ recent live shows (one of which did bring them back to SA) as being really positive indicators for the band when it comes to the new music they’re making and the live shows they’ve been able to inject even more energy into with Berkfinger momentarily back from Berlin.

“They felt really, really good,” he says. “The Adelaide one particularly, because we got to play some of the new songs and they had a pretty good reaction. Also, we all really loved that venue [Producer’s Bar] as well! It sounded really great for all the bands as well; from what everyone was saying, it was really new or had been newly reopened. With that sort of thing, normally there’s all these teething problems and it sounds pretty crap for a while, but we were really happy with it. It’s great being on tour again and seeing lots of people who we haven’t seen for a while. It was actually really awesome.”

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and for the Philly Jays, the vibe that exists between the three of them when Berkfinger returns to Sydney is one that has seen the band churn out some really decent music in studio. As we find out though, trying to fit an absurd amount of creative progress into such a small window of time, depending on how long Berkfinger is in town for, does pose the obvious challenges.

“Having us all not in the same place definitely makes things harder,” Beeson admits. “When Simon is out here from Berlin, we jam as much as possible into that time. When we did the Adelaide and Brisbane shows, we did a few days of recording as well as a day of mixing in a proper studio, down at 301 studios – it was hectic. It was insane.”

“We tried to do a new press photo and then because we’re trying to save money, we were doing the touring by driving mostly and it was a really hectic time. You’re trying to fit six months’ worth of ‘together time’ into three weeks. It’s chaotic, but I think we thrive on chaos a little bit. I think that’s a big reason why people come back, because they can watch that catharsis. If you haven’t touched someone else during the show, then you haven’t been to a Philly Jays show.”

For now though, looking ahead to these karaoke shows, Beeson really doesn’t know what to expect from this crazy idea. While he’s ready to accept the fact that things may descend into utter madness, there is an element of responsibility that does creep in.

“You how sometimes, when people get a microphone and they just start yelling stupid things when they’re on stage? We’re really worried that it’s going to descend into that, so we’re going to have to try and work out a way to make it so it’s still fun for everybody else there! I think that once you invite someone on the stage, you lose a bit of control and you’ve got to just roll with it.”


May 27th | The Brightside, BRISBANE
June 3rd | Transit Bar, CANBERRA
June 4th | Jimmy’s Den, PERTH
June 10th | Brighton Up Bar, SYDNEY
June 11th | Yah Yah’s, MELBOURNE


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