Jungle – Auckland Town Hall: July 26, 2022 (Concert Review)

Jungle released their third studio album Loving In Stereo in 2021 and seemed to be delighted to be able to travel and tour again playing as part of the Elemental Nights Series at the Town Hall this July. 

Frank Booker

Frank Booker

Bathed in a pink glow, DJ Frank Booker warms up the stage with a chill house set. The view from the balcony is a good place to soak in the energy and watch the mosh pit slowly fill up.


At 9 on the dot the lights dip, the house music stops and the audience quietens down. Bird sounds and an ominous drone ring through the Town Hall, and a beam of red light pans over an anticipating crowd.

JungleSmoke fills the stage and the crowd lights up with phone screens, fingers hovering, eyes flicking over the stage, ready to press record as soon as the band enters.

Ears tune in to a satisfyingly balanced mix from the first note of Keep Moving. A cowbell rings out above the rest of the song, a distinctive instrument but a key element of Jungle’s sound. Half of the balcony jumped to their feet immediately and stayed that way for the rest of the evening.

The blinding strobe lights are not for the faint hearted and simultaneously build excitement whilst causing the audience to squint and look away from the intensity every once in a while.

The six musicians on stage subtly blend their live sound with the disco backing track, Harmonies sung onstage by Tom McFarland, Josh Lloyd-Watson and Lydia Kitto added to the layers of vocals in the backing track to create a wall of swallowing sound. Something about Lydia Kitto’s voice invites the thought that she might just be a modern day angel the way she balances a forward tone with a delicate breathiness that rings out above the rest of the band and feels controlled yet laid back at the same time.

Disco lights glitter through All Of The Time, a momentary contrast from the bright flashing of before, but they return in full force after the breakdown section. It is one hell of a party for a Tuesday night. The crowd moves as one, reactive of every movement on stage and more than ready to throw down in the half time breakdown in Talk About It.

Police sirens whirl around the hall, a deep voice mutters “still gon bring the heat” and the lights alternate between a strategically planned pattern of blue and red. Launching into The Heat, it is clear that there was thought put into every element of this show and it has all been worth it.

Every song has a different colour and lighting pattern, creating a refreshing new mood with every song. The stage is predominantly back lit, creating a similar mood as their most recent music video for Problemz. The musicians become characters in this way, their silhouettes outlined so that every hand up becomes visible from even the back of the audience.

Everyone is doing at least two things at once, Lydia juggles vocals, keys and the odd flute solo, the bassist breaks away from bass to play keys and the percussionist manages to swap between percussion and bass without the blink of an eye. The only exception to this beautiful madness is the drummer who has his sole focus on the drum kit in front of him, for a good reason as some of his fills are mind blowing.

After Smile, Tom takes a moment to talk to the crowd… “Is everyone good, are ya happy? ” he asks. The crowd screams in response. “Everyone feeling a little bit better than they did 2 years ago?” The crowd screams even louder.

They slow it down for Cherry, pink lights bathe the band in a soft glow and suddenly a wave of calm is brought down on the crowd. It is oh so chill for these three minutes before the last few songs take it right back up to peak again.

“Are you having a good time?” Tom asks the crowd. “It’s a Tuesday night, what are you guys like on a Friday?” he laughs.

The last song they played before the encore, Truth, has a completely different vibe from the rest of their set. A faster drum beat with a more guitar based backing felt more surf rock than their usual disco inspired sound. Reminiscent of Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People. It is nice to hear them switch it up a bit.

The encore didn’t disappoint a stomping crowd wanting more. There aren’t many lingering endings to their songs, they tend to wrap things up tight and snappy and leave the audience hanging on to every last word but the encore of four tracks that move into each other without a break seamlessly finishes with a wildly technical and drawn out outro filled with crazy drum fills. A fittingly firework-like ending to this high energy performance.

Jemilah Ross-Hayes

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Frank Booker:

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