After a Covid-induced hibernation, music collective Jungle proved themselves energized by the time away in their spirited performance at The Anthem last Monday. They promised an audio-visual experience, and through multidimensional vocals and rhythms blended with a psychedelic light show, Jungle delivered. The band members became vessels of their unique sound with the sudden explosion of energy and light, as they opened with their hit single Talk About It, from their newest album, Loving in Stereo. Jungle’s stage presence was phenomenal; the sound quite literally moved through their body, evidence that Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland really are their music.
The vocals added a layer of relatability, beyond just a good electronic beat to get lost in. In particular, their live performance of “All of the Time” felt like a wave of positivity and euphoria had rolled onto the crowd. Although it came towards the end of the set list, their engagement with the crowd, the powerful baseline, and impassioned vocals gave the crowd a cathartic release. It offered the chance to work out the shortcomings of a relationship, whether by tilting your head back and singing to the ceiling or just by dancing to another one of Jungle’s dependable rhythms. Throughout the entire album, their upbeat, youthful lyrics felt like directives – instructions on how to let go, move through the moment, and fully indulge ourselves in the world waking back up.
Between every song, the lights on stage changed to every imaginable color, making boredom or disinterest impossible. The sound was equally as dynamic, incorporating everything from the flute, the synth, and marimbas. Towards the middle of the set, the pace of the performance cooled off, yet the occasionally repetitive or indistinguishable lyrics were made up for by thrilling beat drops and ethereal background vocals.
Their live mixing left every audience member feeling like they were getting a personally curated show. Their futuristic techno, mixed with 80’s synth beats, generated a feeling of nostalgia for a time we haven’t quite experienced yet. Their set list created a moment just beyond our fingertips, in which we both mourned and celebrated an experience yet to come. All of these elements created an unforgettable experience for us; even when scheduling our Uber ride back to campus, we could not stop moving.
At one point, McFarland placed his hand on his heart and looked out onto the crowd. It was as if he wanted the audience to deeply feel the soul that Lloyd-Watson and he had worked so hard to infuse into their newest album. The main takeaway? Jungle embodies everything we can ask of the next wave of electronic artists – fresh, engaging, and above all, authentic.
You can listen to Loving in Stereo on Spotify here.