Gig Review: Jack Daniel’s X Pedestrian TV at Hotel Esplanade. 

Guys. We need to talk about Thursday night. I got to go to one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, and I didn’t even do it on purpose. It wasn’t your typical gig. I didn’t see an artist and say “I’d like to get tickets to their show”, purchase tickets, and then go to the venue on the date. All I did was sign up for tickets to an exclusive gig put on by Jack Daniel’s and Pedestrian, and a week later got an email saying that me and a friend were coming along! So me and Ash, who I was lucky enough to meet through Marshall Street, put on our dancing shoes. 
I didn’t know any of the acts who were performing. I didn’t really have any expectations, I just figured I’d go along and have a good time. 

Arriving at The Espy, I lined up to get my ID checked. This guy with long hair and a dark blue velvet suit excused himself as he walked past me, and I thought “he looks like someone”. Turns out it was Kram from Spiderbait, he was hosting the evening. Cool. Cool, cool. 

I got in and someone took me through to the band room. I could already hear the music going on inside, and I could tell it was going to be a good night. Ash hadn’t arrived yet, but I got myself a drink (there were multiple JD inspired cocktails, including a JD Spritz, an apple-based one and a Black Jack – JD in an espresso martini – as well as your classic Jack and Coke/ Jack and Ginger combos) and headed to the stage.

I couldn’t help myself from smiling ear to ear – when I hear a good band live an unstoppable joy comes over me – sounds cheesy, but it happens.

Eagle Eye Jones

The 5-piece band was already ripping it up as I got there. I immediately noticed their on-stage vibe, the energy they were bringing and how well they connected not just with the audience, but with each other. They were complimenting each other with the skill of a band well beyond their years, and the tracks were tight and well rehearsed, without feeling too rehearsed. The audience was warming up, and we were all picking up what these guys were putting down. I loved that Eagle Eye Jones had not one, but two lead singers, who switched out seamlessly and came together in other parts to harmonise and add texture to their live sound. The pianist, and the newest member of the band, was absolutely jamming up the back and his solos added so much flair to the set.

Everyone knew their part, and it made Eagle Eye Jones an absolute pleasure to watch. I didn’t know any of their tracks going into the night, but now I have favourites that include Never Get You Down, and their newest release, Can’t Sleep. My only regret is not getting any proper photos…

HANDSOME

Photo by Micaela Nally

Next up was HANDSOME, a pop-electronic act from Sydney. This girl knows how to party. Catchy bangers with plenty of attitude, HANDSOME took to the stage and we were all instantly captivated. I was still standing up the back, but not for long. HANDSOME’s songs captivate youth, the coming-of-age awkwardness and all the drama of love. She played a new track “Youth Disaster” and I found myself and others in the crowd singing along to the chorus halfway through – even though it was our first time ever hearing it. That’s how you know you’ve written a good song. Her other tracks continued to impress me, and charm the audience.

HANDSOME channeled something in me that I haven’t felt in a while. I danced with no inhibition and felt like the band room at The Espy was the only place on Earth for a short amount of time. It was great. She has been on repeat on my Spotify since. 

Kinder

If you’re looking for new additions to your Saturday Night playlist, look no further, because sister-act Kinder are here. The second these girls graced the stage I knew we were in for a treat. They looked effortlessly cool, they’re female DJ’s, and they had the dance moves to match. And they’re sisters! Which means that musically, they’re inclined to be more in-sync than usual. And this translated. 

Photo by Micaela Nally
Photo by Micaela Nally

With a healthy combination of covers and originals, we were not left without a shortage of songs to sing along to, while also discovering something new. The girls reworked Pumped Up Kicks, making it new and original with a drop that got everyone dancing. Their original track, Something More, got my attention with the lyric, “We don’t got it all, but what we got is something more”. This one has also been on repeat for me since Thursday.

Groove City

Cal of Groove City, photo by Micaela Nally

These guys actually opened the evening, but I arrived a bit later and only saw them for their second set, which finished off the night. I am SO GLAD they came back on stage. If you ever want to see two regular dudes (Cal and Dan) in 70’s getup play throwback hits and do some serious Saturday Night Fever inspired dance moves, get a ticket to a Groove City gig. I showed mum a clip of the boys the next day, and she said “so, you can still play Abba at the Espy and get away with it, good to know”.
And get away with it they did. We were eating it up! By this point, everyone in the crowd was mates. I’d met like six new people, and Ash was fixing her eye-makeup in the middle of the dance floor.

The Dance Break. Another screen grab of a video by me

The energy just kept rising all night, so when these guys came on, we were jumping around, dancing with each other… it really was a big, sweaty mess. In the best of ways. I handed a drink to Dan halfway through which he graciously accepted, and chugged, as Cal ripped it up on guitar. Highlights include the “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” dance break, and when they made us all get on the floor during a later track, before exploding up with the drop.
They’ll be appearing at Spilt Milk in a couple of weeks, do not miss their set (had I have been granted a media pass, I wouldn’t have missed it either #rip). 

In conclusion, I just want to address how wholesome and amazing the entire night was. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a gig where no one was pushing each other, no one was rude, and everyone was so open and accepting. At one point, I looked over at a guy with blue hair and went “you look awesome!” and we proceeded to have a dance-off in a circle that had formed from our interaction. If you were enjoying the music, you were a friend. It’s like we all collectively left our egos at the door, and I loved it. And I barely saw any phone screens the whole time!! It was INCREDIBLE!! The artists also came out after their sets and had a dance, so I got to say hi to most of them and tell them how great they were. The best part is, they were all lovely people. 
I just hope there are more gigs like this in the future. I’m looking at you Pedestrian and Jack Daniel’s, round two?!

If there’s any gigs you want me to come to and review, please hit me up at alex@marshallstreetstudios.com

Talk soon, 

Al

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