With a set without a break, the duo got the Berlin crowd grooving constantly. We were there.
It’s a dreary Monday, not particularly different from the other dreary Mondays of the Berlin winter. It’s 6:47 p.m. – which already feels like the dead of night on November 6th. The sky is pitch black, the clouds are thick. Only the neon signs of Mercedes-Platz could – with a lot of imagination and optimism – imitate the brightness of the stars. Those present struggle through the drizzle, cool wind and the crowds milling about in front of the Verti Music Hall, where Jungle will be playing this Monday.
The curtain falls
Sold out house – 4,500 pairs of eyes stare at the cherry-red velvet curtain that covers the stage and in front of which the support act LA Priest stood just now to perform his indie tracks with a hoarse voice and electric guitar. Every now and then the material moves forward two centimeters and plays with the tension of the crowd. Then the time has come – the light in the hall is suffocated. On the red of the curtain, which can no longer be recognized as such in the darkness, three intertwined letters are now emblazoned on it – a J, F and C. The letters that stand for the “Jungle Fan Club”. A deep thunder rumbles, the fast melody rattles. Then the heavy curtain falls. Bright, white light blinds the faces of the audience as they stare at the stage with their mouths hanging open.
White illuminated letters spelling out “Jungle” in capital letters float far above the stage – including the six band members, who protect themselves from the bright light with darkened sunglasses. Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson – the two Jungle founders – form the core of the formation. Around them, bongos, bass, keyboard, drums and the beguiling melody of a transverse flute form a unity. As soon as you can tell which song the sounds of the instruments create – the energetic album intro “Us Against The World” from their current record VOLCANO – then no one in attendance stands still. And it will stay that way.
No time for chatting
No breathing space, no gaps for applause and certainly no stopping of the music. The songs flow into one another as if silence were the enemy. The last sounds of current hits like “Candle Flame” and “I’ve Been In Love” will be the first sounds of tracks like “Casio” from their 2018 album FOR EVER. Jungle creates a huge 80s disco party that leaves no time for quick chat. The most important thing this evening: exercise. “I know it’s a Monday, but shake your asses,” McFarland asks his audience, who have already been going crazy with their grooviest dance moves. 20-year-olds who recently discovered “Back On 74” on TikTok dance next to over-50 fathers who are reviving their disco era. And the London music producer duo also moves their hips.
80s disco vibes
The audience’s mood adapts to the hypnotizing play of lights in the background. The white rays flicker nervously to “What D’You Know About Me?” and the most beautiful sunrise light heats up the song “The Heat” even further. When an oversized disco ball appears on the screen, competing with the glitter and sequin tops in the front row, the party is in full swing. The singer – Lydia Kitto – who previously played flute and keyboard, now stands between McFarland and Lloyd-Watson and hums warm tones into the microphone in her soulful voice. She moves so nonchalantly to the music, as if her body had no choice but to groove as much as she could. Meanwhile, huge white balls have gotten lost in the crowd and are bouncing up and down like little bouncy balls.
“I could dance around for a little bit” is the title at the beginning of their final song “Holding On”. The beat continues to build up, becomes faster and more intense – until it finally falls silent completely. The applause fills the hall entirely – almost shockingly loud without the constant wall of sound – and calls for an encore. The band takes the stage again and starts playing like they never left.
After Jungle gets the crowd going again with “Keep Moving,” they finally close the set with the epic melody of “Busy Earnin’.” Again and again the music seems to fade away, only to come back stronger again. Finally, when all the strings and keys of the instruments have been brought to a standstill, the group gathers in the center of the stage. The six of them bow – beaming, waving, hardly wanting to leave the stage. A start to the week that was ultimately more dazzling than all the past and probably future Mondays.