Live: Jack On Fire @ The Old Bar – 21/09/13

“Raw as s**t, gritty and real, unrefined.” The makings of a perfect night of rock and roll, right? Well, that sentence was exactly what I enthusiastically noted on my phone when I went to see local band Jack On Fire for their EP launch at The Old Bar.Arriving in time to see support act Tinsmoke, I was excited to see that the room was fairly full, and took a seat as the band set themselves up. They surprised me when they started playing; I don’t think I was expecting them to be as great as they were. Immediately they were comfortable on stage, with guitarist/vocalist Ryan Nico knocking his knees to the beat and using his instrument like a sixth limb. They were fun to watch and played a tight set, with a good quantity of solos and drawn out endings thrown into the mix. Overall, I was impressed by their jangly indie rock, which was reminiscent of English rockers Bombay Bicycle Club’s summer vibes—definitely a band to watch.Then, of course, came time for the main act and stars of the night to ready their instruments. The place was full by this time, and the crowd was definitely enjoying themselves. Jack On Fire cramped their bodies onto the stage and took flight with their first tune. What followed was a bluesy and powerful performance that had an unmistakable Australian vibe. The atmosphere was as cool as they were and they effortlessly traversed through their set, including tracks “Easy Money” and “Suzanne” from their new EP.Vocalist Ben Blakeney’s scruffy good looks blended well with the band’s grimy sound, and keyboardist Samantha Wass’ smile was delightful as she proved herself multi-talented switching from keys, to vocals and then drums. Dancing around in my own seat, I was especially taken by the amount of variation in the songs. One minute it was psychedelic, then a spattering of shoe-gaze, followed by folk punk, and lastly what seemed to be an Australian version of American Southern Rock. It was eclectic and brilliant, and by the end I found myself totally lost in the music.After the experience, I was delighted to have had the chance to see them in action. Jack On Fire is an authentically Aussie band that truly embodies the very essence of rock and roll. If they are in your city, they are highly worth checking Radhika Chopra

October 11th 2013
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