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John Steel Singers & Jeremy Neale: Fri, 21 Feb @ Black Bear Lodge

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on February 26, 2014

Friday’s double bill featured two pop-loving Brisbane acts, The John Steel Singers, and all-round local cool dude, Jeremy Neale. These boys are on their East coast “Boys Gone Wild Tour” which kicked off the night before and still has two shows left in Melbourne this coming weekend. The two acts are sharing the headline spot via a complex system of “you take one show, then we’ll take the next.” JSS started things off and our boy Jezza took to the stage later in the night.

The John Steel Singers have been kicking around for some time. They won Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year back in ’08 and managed to bang out four EP’s before dropping their debut album, Tangalooma, in twenty-ten. Their earlier work channels 60’s pop vibes with an indie rock injection. The kind of stuff that’ll make you forget about how angry you were twelve seconds ago when you couldn’t get served a beer, as you drunkenly dance to “Rainbow Kraut”.

Last year saw JSS continue  with the tunes, releasing Everything’s A Thread, and no, that’s not a Stephen Hawking book about the universe and the string theory. JSS’s sophomore album builds on their previous work adding greater depth to their sound with the inclusion of psyche rock and other musical elements. Several tracks also see them taking the indie rock aspect of their music up a notch. Their set featured heavily from this latest release, but there were enough throw backs to older works to keep long time fans sated. Least of all “Overpass”, which clocked in at 52nd in 2010’s Hottest 100 and had Friday night’s crowd in a ruckus (the good, fun kind, not the “smash security, wreck the barrier and fuck shit up” kind encouraged by metal d-bags, Thy Art Is Murder, at Brisbane’s Soundwave recently). Other highlights were “TGI Tuesdays”, “State Of Unrest” and “MJ’s On Fire Again”.

Jeremy Neale and his gang of supporting musicians were up next for some proper good, 60’s loving, pop revival. Following a quality hour from JSS, Black Bear was pretty banging, and things looked set to continue along those lines. Jeremy, who plays an integral role in  my sexual fantasies  super group Velociraptor as front man, is a charismatic bloke, unafraid of a bit of #banter. I’ve seen front men of international bands with hundreds of shows under their belt come nowhere near this guy’s level of charm.  And his music matches. It’s catchy, nostalgic and sometimes sounds like something out of an old-school spy movie. So basically everything that good pop music should be. Jeremy’s 2013 debut EP, In Stranger Times, even  impressed evil dictator/overlord*  of Australian music, Richard Kingsmill, and earned JN an Unearthed Artist of the Year nomination (he didn’t win though. Sad days).

The set went pretty predictably (I predicted it going swimmingly). “Swing Left” had me in all sorts but it was undoubtedly “In Stranger Times” that stole the night. The title track is definitely a standout out from last year’s EP, but its performance was made particularly special when the gals from Go Violets made a cameo appearance on stage to round out the night alongside Jeremy.

The tour finishes up this weekend and Melbournians  can catch the final two shows on Friday and Saturday night at Northcote Social Club.



*Not actually an evil dictator/overlord

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