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Live review: Jungle bring a swagger and style to this University of East Anglia LCR gig

PUBLISHED: 10:15 14 February 2019

Jungle headlining The LCR in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

Jungle headlining The LCR in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

Steve Hunt

There are some bands that come alive when playing live - and Jungle are one of those.

Jungle headlining The LCR in Norwich. Photo: Steve HuntJungle headlining The LCR in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

It’s not that their two albums so far aren’t worth a listen, they very much are, but on record I find their soul and funk enthused sound falls a little flat at times.

That very much isn’t the case when the seven members of the band come together on stage, which would perhaps explain why there’s a palpable buzz in the air in the moments prior to their University of East Anglia LCR gig.

And they do not disappoint the sell-out crowd pushing out a lively, fresh and tight 80-minute set made up of a mix of debut album Jungle and latest release For Ever.

I’ve always found the London-based band quite hard to pin down. Part funk, part soul, very disco and at times (though not quite enough for my tastes) part dance.

Jungle headlining The LCR in Norwich. Photo: Steve HuntJungle headlining The LCR in Norwich. Photo: Steve Hunt

And perhaps therein lies their appeal because this means they are a band unlike many others on the scene right now.

The set starts with a real swagger with early single The Heat and Happy Man bringing a cool sunny Californian-style vibe to the UEA. The four (sometimes even five) main vocalists sing in perfect harmony, creating that high-pitched vocal sound which they are synonymous with.

The rest of the band are superb, I don’t think there’s a duff note all evening.

In truth I sometimes feel Jungle should give each member more of a chance to sing solo, because on the few times tonight they do, it takes the gig in a new direction and stops it from feeling repetitive.

That said, no one seems to mind and from the back to the front people are creating what space they can to boogie and get their bodies moving to the beat.

The undoubted highlight of the set is a two-song encore, which finishes with their best known hit so far Busy Earnin, which is beefed up, extended and upbeat and brings the evening to a triumphant close.

It’s their first gig of the tour and the first time back in Norwich in five years. If you can get the chance to see them, please do.

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