Live: Bluejuice @ The Corner Hotel – 01/11/13

I parked my car across the road from The Corner Hotel and stepped out for my first solo gig. Sheer pretension had led me to believe that Bluejuice would be an ordinary live act to experience. Each of their three albums had featured a bunch of dance-laden, high-impact pop-rock songs by a group of men you probably would expect to see on weekend benders had they not become a relatively famous Australian band.However, from their opening numbers “Can’t Keep Up” and “The Recession”, they had the place pumping. My attitude quickly began to soften as they roared through their set with a disaffected charm that was completely contagious. One half of the vocal unit, Jake Stone unashamedly told the crowd how rapt he was to see a sold out show in Melbourne and he really couldn’t have asked for a more receptive crowd.But while the crowd brought the good vibes, Bluejuice definitely brought the pulsating energy and a host of jumpy hits from each of their zany albums. While the opening keyboard riff of “Vitriol” drew a massive rumble from the crowd of frivolous 20-to-25-year-olds, it was the sincerity of “On My Own” with the chorus of “even though I know it’s over/even though I know that it’s done” that pinched at my heartstrings and was an undoubted highlight.At times I was a little overwhelmed by the shrill tones of Stone’s voice and the set fell slightly flat during the middle, whereupon most of the crowd was fatigued from the rapturous nature of Bluejuice’s performance style. However, Stone’s infectious energy and clear rapport with both Stavros Yiannoukas, the honey in Stone’s porridge vocally, and the crowd — who enjoyed the presence of Stone’s freefalling half-naked body more than half a dozen times throughout the night — overshadowed any negative aspects.The band behind the front men was also particularly impressive with bouncy keyboard riffs, and they provided a funk-ified (that’s not even a word) template to the upbeat jams Bluejuice pride themselves on. The lyrics are uncomplicated but convey strong messages that are more encouraging than forceful. “Don’t be too much of a d-bag”, “Don’t worry about the bulls**t” and “Keep your chin up” are just a few of the explicit or implicit things they sing about. And it definitely works.Bluejuice ended their set with their two powerhouse hits, “Act Yr Age” and “Broken Leg”. Both were brief but hit the right mark as the crowd responded to the two shirtless, strange-looking men in absolutely chaotic fashion. Something tells me that the anarchy that seemed to pervade the room would have left the band extremely satisfied in their night’s work. They didn’t need to bother with an encore because, as Stone confessed, they’d already played all of their songs.I departed with no one to confide in about my thoughts on the show, but I think my goofy grin told the story. These guys certainly know how to make a crowd dance and that’s alright with William Balme

November 6th 2013
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