Splendour Studio

Philly Jay’s get real in Brisbane

It’s been a long time between drinks for Sydney band Philadelphia Grand Jury. After going on an indefinite hiatus in 2011 trying to follow up the success of their debut album Hope Is For Hopers, frontman Berkfinger packed his shit up and went to Berlin, coming out of his studio there as a fully-fledged solo artist and adopting the moniker of Feelings. Reuniting with his Philly J’s bandmates, MC Bad Genius and Dan W. Sweat, for the support tour across Australia, the trio felt something of a reminiscent spark, leading them here tonight to Brisbane’s Alhambra Lounge for the conclusion of their first national tour in what has been a good long while.

The Alhambra crowd on this humid Brisbane evening is sweaty, buzzing and beyond keen for this; an unofficial welcome back to a band many felt had taken the Icarus path of career trajectories. Fellow Brizzo band, and rising stars Rolls Bayce delivered a blistering set to ease the crowd in. Lead singer Dean McGrath is no stranger to centre stage – having fronted Hungry Kids of Hungary – and it shows. He is a natural; joking around with band members James Wright (ex-Millions) and Neal Apel during and in between songs. Having just released an incredible EP, these guys are ones to watch. Stand out tracks Don’t Get Me Wrong and latest single On My Own really get the crowd going. I caught the end of these guys at The Blurst Of Times, and made it my number one priority when navigating the G20 restrictions to make it in time for them this time around. Man, am I glad I did! Seamless, effortless, and pretty damn cool; Rolls Bayce are definitely one of the best bands in Brisbane at the moment, and it’s only up from here!

Next up, the dreams of my 17 year old self came true as the Philly Jay‘s took to the stage. From the first note, the crowd was alive and heaving. Serving up hit after hit, they coaxed the fans back into their proverbial arms before launching into some new songs. Although immediately recognisable as a PGJ song, Berkfinger knows what he’s doing. If their new material is anything to go by, we can expect things to come a la 2009/2010 for the rockers. Going To The CasinoThe Good News, and Save Our Town were flawless, and reached near anthemic heights sparking an almost riotous crowd.

Closing the show is Philly’s rendition of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, a cover that blew up hard after being showcased on Like A Version in 2010. The climax of what has been a ridiculous live show already, the crowd eat it up like rabid dogs; Berkfinger launching himself into the middle of the fray and finishing the set on his knees, surrounded by fans and spitting the last of Jigga’s verses with all of the palpable fury they were written with.

More than just a nostalgia run of shows, fans of Philadelphia Grand Jury should be disgustingly excited to note that the funds raised from this entire tour are going towards getting the band over to Berkfinger’s Berlin studios and putting together their long-awaited sophomore album. For just one hour tonight in Alhambra though, it’s 2010 all over again and, by God, it’s fantastic.