- Stealing Sheep
It’s been four years since JUNGLE first enchanted listeners with their contemporary take on funk and soul. Accompanied by stylish music videos, the then elusive founders J and T (Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland) sought to keep art and music at the forefront. The six-year-old girl break dancing to Platoon and London skate crew, High Rollaz, grooving to The Heat were the only faces for their infectious beats. Now performing as a seven-piece collective, Jungle draw a euphoric crowd to the Invisible Wind Factory for day seven of Liverpool Music Week.
Local favourites STEALING SHEEP own the party-ready crowd before the main event. Their set glistens with electro-pop and intricate, funky rhythms that the trio brilliantly pound into the Wind Factory in perfect harmony. Although unusually clad in sophisticated black, an air of mystery and surreality is ever-prominent in their curious sound and shimmering energy.
The zealous crowd has doubled in size and scrambles to fill the space. Drinks hastily bought and dance spots established, the Wind Factory erupts at the sight of Jungle, who bound straight into House In L.A.. A wall of light bulbs sparkles and beams to life, drenching us in a glamourous gold. Having evolved into a collective to avoid performing tracks using laptops, the spirit of the frontmen and their members is faultless throughout. The live experience would certainly be at a loss without them. Each track is performed with exuberant stage presence, but as slick and refined as if it were a studio recording.
The bittersweet Drops changes the pace to a moody and velvety lull, before Busy Earnin’ and Time throws us back into a whirl of irresistible rhythms. As promised, we are treated to brand new tracks. Give Over is a triumphant taste of greater things to come and reassurance that a second album is on the horizon. “Every song is an actual masterpiece, init?” I overhear during an explosion of applause.
With a surge of catchy beats and a rewiring of funk, Jungle offer a reflective release for a twenty-first-century audience. What is evident tonight is a mutual love and enthusiasm between artist and audience. Joyous favourites are greeted with an uproar of falsetto hollers from the crowd and an inclination to dance, sway, nod your head, hug your mate; whatever it is, Jungle awaken an instinct to move.