Dry your tears – live music is alive and well in the heart of Toronto’s docklands. On October 12th, West London singer-producers, Jungle, (Tom McFarland & Josh Lloyd-Watson) along with their band of multi-instrumentalists, were back on Canadian soil. This time, taking centre stage at CityView Drive-In for what was the ultimate dance party, complete with sprawling skyline views.
As the lights dimmed, we saw the collective walk out onto the stage outfitted in everything from smooth suits, minimalist dresses with flair, to relaxed but sophisticated streetwear. Taking their places, the group is welcomed to the smoke-filled stage by the cheer of hundreds screaming in excitement. The band’s signature graphic hung above the set, shining white through a haze of gold. A night full of driving grooves, shout-along hooks, and joyful exuberance kicks off.
The show begins with “Dry Your Tears” – the band’s opening track on their latest record, Loving In Stereo. The crowd’s roar then transitions to a clapping sequence, flowing into the upbeat rhythm of “Talk About It.” Soulful and riveting, you can’t help but groove along as if catapulted back through time to the ‘70s dancefloor era. Songs like their hit single “Keep Moving” were slotted into the set early on to engage the crowd in its anthemic refrain. Following the song Tom addresses the crowd before continuing the set, “Amazing view, thank you so much for having us back – it’s a fucking pleasure.”
The show continues with the crowd dancing wildly as Jungle continued to bring “The Heat.” Soon after jumping into the big crowd-pleaser that is “Julia,” rapper Bas appears on a video screen behind the band to sing “Romeo.” A change in auditory scenery adds to the flair achieved by the multitude of instruments on stage.
When the keyboard player whips out a flute on “Bonnie Hill” it’s as if one is being transcended into the heavens above. Complementing the falsettos of both McFarland and Lloyd-Watson are the harmonious backing vocals that round out the track. Following the track, the band explains that they were playing football on the pitch nearby before the show. Tom then gives a shoutout to a fan wearing a West Hampshire jersey as a nod to their roots: “I see someone wearing a West Hampshire jersey… way to support!”
Moving through the set, a mellow mood fills the audience, as the melancholic “Cherry” begins. An even slower track that features the chorus, “You’re never going to change me,” sung on repeat, leading into a song like “Pray,” which is all about taking charge.
The following tracks, “Lucky I Got What I Want,” “Fire,” “What D’You Know About Me,” and “All of the Time” close out the main set leading to the band’s return to the stage for a 3-song encore. First up, “Casio” – a funk number filled with falsetto that had the crowd clapping to the beat. Next, the well-appointed “Busy Earnin’” which appeared on their self-titled debut album of 2014. Ending with “Time,” the band left a little bit of funk in our hearts and “soul” in our shoes. Before exiting the stage, Josh reminds us all to: “Take care of each other; spread love and positivity.”
*Jungle’s North American Tour wraps up on October 29th at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California*
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