Jinja Safari @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney (11/11/11)

If you have never been to a Jinja Safari concert, I suggest you do so – pronto. A long queue of excited fans sprawled themselves throughout the sold-out Metro Theatre, wearing a range of safari suits, headdresses, animal masks and mermaid tails. Within the first 30 minutes of the doors opening, the space filled rapidly. It was easy to see that this was going to be one big show.

You could feel the excitement rustling through the audience. The eagerly awaiting crowd began to get louder and louder. As the lights went out, the entire room cheered then fell to silence. A light drumming could be heard from the top corner of the Metro. As the beating got louder, Jinja Safari appeared with a vuvuzela; honking drumming and dancing their way down the tightly packed stairs towards the stage.

The stage was spanned with metres of flags, layers of netting, the wonderful Jinja Safari symbol and plenty of softly glowing candles (although I don’t think the candles were real, as the boys certainly would have lit the place on fire with their wild dancing.) They certainly did open with a bang, after confetti barrels exploded across the audience after the first song.

Excitement had been building since earlier in the night as a range of support acts had played. The delightfully stylish, Elizabeth Rose bringing big tunes to the enthusiastic, clapping crowd, Pluto Jonze, a trio comparable to 90s Britpop who opened by using a Theremin and Megastick Fanfare, five dudes switching between each other’s instruments and the singer with a distinctive voice. A perfect combination to enliven the crowd.

Screams of delight were heard as the spirited band launched into Hiccups, a song off their recently released, debut album, Locked By Land. The squeals were even shriller as the pan flute was put away and the sweet sound of the glockenspiel and the sitar were heard. Peter Pan a song that has gained frequent airtime on triple j, and that originally exposed them on triple j unearthed, was certainly a crowd favourite. With grins that could make a bitter old man smile, the Jinja boys danced, played and sang barefoot, clearly thriving off the incredible atmosphere from the audience.

About halfway through the show, the singer Marcus proceeded to shout ecstatically, “eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven!” for it was 11:11pm on 11/11/11 – A date I’m sure the whole room will remember. It was after this that the song Mud was launched into, but it wasn’t just the guitar riff that made this song memorable. Marcus asked the entire theatre to sit on the floor: they obliged. He then proceeded to jump up and as the crowd followed his lead, the room turned into a sea of jumping, dancing lunacy; probably for good reason as it was a full moon that night. This encouraged both Pepa and Marcus to jump upon the giant speakers on either side of the stage which turned the fans ballistic. Pepa incredibly and perilously climbed like a monkey across the entire lighting rig, from one side of the stage to the other. After a jump back down to stage level, which would have hurt even the most pain tolerant of feet, the boys proceeded to do their vigorous ‘ugly dance’.

Forest Eyes was played brilliantly, with so much passion, energy and harmonies that could make your heart melt. Final song Mermaids set the crowd into a wild frenzy as friends of the band danced passionately with them upon the stage and Pepa off the stage and into the thrilled crowd.

For a band who has only just released their debut album, it is exciting to see they are already selling out venues such as the Metro Theatre. It is undeniable to say that Jinja Safari, with such heart and enthusiasm, will most certainly have a bright future. Perhaps they will play in a real jungle safari; there’s an idea boys.

Something to say?