Live Review: CONCRETE JUNGLE, Fortitude Valley, 15.08.15

Hells bells, I’d take my hat off if I was wearing one to the guys that organised, re-organised,
re-located, re-shuffled, re-scheduled, re-energised and re-everything-ed, everything to pull-off the CONCRETE JUNGLE FESTIVAL. Legends.

At the eleventh hour, the last minute, the venue was ripped out from under them.

Not physically, but bloody bureaucratically. It was meant to be staged at the iconic Serafina Chains factory in Bowen Hills. A couple of months ago, Psych Night festival was held there. A fantastic set-up, locale and vibe. It must take days, nights, weeks and months to get the place and people organised with all the equipment, staging, sound, lighting scheduling, etc, etc, etc required.

To find out the night before the event is to take place that the bloody council has out-lawed it, must be, to put it mildly, fucking infuriating.

Somehow, magically, at the last moment, the guys involved, lead by directors and organisers Lincoln and Raymond, pulled a rabbit out of the proverbial hat by securing The Foundry as an alternative venue.

Except they can’t advertise it as “The Foundry” because it doesn’t actually “exist”.. yet. (F-ing bureacrats again). The premises opened a few months ago then had to abruptly close as the upstairs floor-downstairs ceiling was cave-ing in. Well, fair enough councillors. Yikes.
Building tools and materials are shoved into corners and crevices of this monolithic monster of a building to make way for the impromptu party in it’s partially constructed innards.
The official opening of the venue as “The Foundry” is a few days away so until then it has to be referred to as : “228 Wickham Street”.

Thank the Lords and Ladies of social media and the cyber-grapevine for spreading the word, just in the nick of time, though I wonder how many showed up at Serafina Chains and said:
“WTF”.

I was looking forward to going back to the original old warehouse – an amazing space.
But wandering around the black painted corridors of this rabbit warren, this classic old pub, part of the gorgeously elaborate, heritage-listed “Elephant Hotel”, I’m getting to like it.
Previously called “The Elephant and Wheelbarrow”, (to shovel all the s**t into), The Prince Consort, The Elephant and Arms, or Elbows or something. Now just called :”The Elephant Hotel”. (Does an elephant have elbows!)

It’s a flurry of frantic activity as I ascend the creaky dark stairs. Musicians are sitting on the floor cradling violins, cellos and assorted instruments whilst others dash about madly, dragging miles of extension leads and things, fiddling with sound and lighting equipment, pulling there hair out. That’s not really true. Though the activity was hectic, there was a sense of organised insanity. Just mild, constructive panic.

The show was about an hour late kicking off. Not bad timing I reckon with all that had to be achieved in such a rushed state of time. Gave me an opportunity to creep and meander around the dark passage ways and marvel at the building’s antiquity and history. Get lost in the mysterious and darkened labyrinth. What’s behind that door down the end of that eerie dark corridor. The walls and ceiling are all painted black and the carpet is almost as dark with grime and age. It’s all a bit spooky and alluring.

“QUINTESSENTIAL DOLL” are the first band up. Led by Steph Linsdell on vocals, keys, and violin, the sound is whimsical and poetic. Sort of dark -folkish. Various musicians join in including members of “NONSEMBLE” who later take everyone’s breathe away.

I don’t know how I managed to miss “THE ROCKET SOX”.  I think I was still wandering the corridors finding my way around and got immersed in watching the graffti artists do there thing out the back veranda. I run into Lincoln, one of the directors, and have a chat about the whole she-bang.

Bloody legends for pulling this off amongst the chaos. This is a “warm-up” for JUNGLE LOVE  Festival in November which sounds incredible. Six stages, in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, 3 days and nights camping and dancing, running amuck. Psyched.

Seven souls take the stage. GOLDEN AGE OF BALLOONING  get my feet shuffling and my hips swaying with their melodic rock. I later chat with members Warren and bassist Bennet who inform me they are sometimes affectionately, or accidentally called The Golden Age of Haloumi. Ha. Cheesy.

This time I make it to the other room-stage down the end of that long, unlit hallway.  Colours are swirling psychedelically at the end of the room, back-drop to the 2-piece GO VAN GO.  The drummer leaps to his feet to bash and thrash those drums. Been hanging to see these guys. They are tight, loud, fast, but when they slow it down a notch, in tempo not decibels, and cover The Beatles “Come Together”, the whole crowd joins in.. “right now.. over me”. Brilliant. I hear a lot of “Fuck Yeah”s as the mob disperse.

From the punk to the sublime. NONSEMBLE are a mini orchestra or as their blurb describes :”an indie-chamber ensemble. Filling the void between the conservatoire and the underground”. Violins, cellos, drums, piano, guitar and people crowd the stage with guest vocalists adding to the fray. Dean from Hungary Kids Of Hungry and Rolls Bayce does a guest slot that has the audience absorbed. These guys are professional, charming and damn good.

I get totally taken by the da-ridim on the Wonky Queenslander dance-floor. I just can’t stop shaking my groove thing. A mad mob in all sorts of weird jungle-ish attire are doing like-wise, some with more finesse and rhythm than others. I am totally sober, honest, but something possess me to grab the pineapple on the DJ deck and dance with it on my head. God help me if I’d imbibed in alcoholic or other substances. Others followed my trend-setting. DJ YOSHI DOG dog-damn you and your rhythms ‘n beats.

I miss most of the ASTRAL TRAVELLERS due to Yoshi but catch the last couple of trippy hip-hop tunes. Sexy saxophone, soulful jazz-hop, funky rap. Tres cool. The MOULDY LOVERS keep the party and my arse grooving with their hot jive, dub and skanking ska. I take a bit of a breather and miss THE BRAINS TRUST god-damn-dang-it, but make some new friends and have some laughs on the balcony. There are some real loveable freaks bopping about. Good vibes.

MKO, alias Hannah Macklin, is mesmerising, visually and audibly. Her vocals soar and float, some chunky funky bass, synth and drums back her up beautifully. Back-up dancers to boot. Yes siree, she got dem Rhythm and Blues.

One-man-machine OMEGA CHILD punches out his massive sound. One hand drumming madly on the skins the other a life of it’s own feverishly twiddling electronica at break-neck speed. Amazing light-show adding to the contagious fever-pitch euphoria.

The one and only DUBMARINE bring it all home to this night of Brisbane brilliance.

Drum ‘n  bass, trip-hop, reggae, dancehall. Trumpets, trombone, synths. Man, the joint was jumping. A real test of the re-enforced floor reconstruction. Oh yeah, forgot about that for a while in the mayhem. It rattled and shook but didn’t succumb, thank the heavens above and floorboards below.

What a night. If all this Concrete Jungle fun and fondness is a warm up for the Jungle Love festival in the bush, its gonna be one hell of a love-fest. In the jungle, the mighty jungle, I don’t reckon the lion or any other creatures are gonna get much sleep. Bring it on.

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