The Jungle Giants light up the Riverstage Brisbane

By Marjie Saunders

The return home for The Jungle Giants was a dream realised, with the band headlining Riverstage for the first ever time. The band ran out on stage at Brisbane’s Riverstage kicking off their set with  ‘On Your Way Down’ and ‘She’s A Riot.’ Celebrating the release of their highly acclaimed fourth album Love Signs, this tour was long overdue after ongoing lockdowns and lingering national restrictions had forced the band to postpone prior dates. 

“Brisbane, Riverstage! Oh my god, I absolutely can confirm this is an absolute mind f**k and so amazing to finally be here” Sam Hales, the band’s lead vocalist, exclaimed in front of a jam packed crowd.

Sasha McLeod, better known as SYCCO, joined the band onstage to perform ‘Treat You Right’. Sam’s vocals balanced perfectly with Sasha’s subtle backing vocals that underline this song. Strobe lights illuminated the stage, creating a perfect, buzzing atmosphere.

The crowd sang back ‘Quiet Ferocity’ to the stage, while lead vocalist Sam let out an excited laugh, showing just how much he was savouring the moment – as was Andrew Dories on bass, who had not stopped jumping since the set began. 

A milestone moment for The Jungle Giants, commemorated by the throwing a disposable camera into the crowd, captured the pure joy of the audience as the band ramped up to play ‘Charge My Phone’ off their new album. I  swear I have never seen dance moves finer than Sam Hales on stage, it was impossible not to get drawn in by his energy. Smoke and lasers filled the air and saturated the crowd as songs ‘Something Got Between Us’ and ‘Feel The Way I Do’ followed. 

The slow build and even tempo of ‘Here I Come’ let everyone catch their breath after the jumping and dancing that this set demanded. The crowd settled, mesmerised by the backlight display which mimicked rain falling. Mid-chorus, Sam noticed his mother in the front row and shouts, “Hey, it’s my mum!” Hey Mum! What are you doing down there? “I’ve got to keep singing the song,” in the middle of the chorus of ‘Monstertruck.’ As Andrew set the bassline for ‘Heartless‘, a sunlit orange light in the centre of the stage illuminated the band as Sam started to dance. Watching Sam was like watching a musical dancing magician as they launched into the sing-along anthem ‘Sending Me Ur Loving‘ — his skilful dance moves and whimsy delight energised the crowd.

A giant heart shaped spotlight flooded the backdrop and set the mood for the title track off their new album ‘Love Signs’. The neon lights lured the audience into the electric atmosphere created at Riverstage, and The Jungle Giants went all  out to make it a show to remember. Nobody was standing still and the crowd jumped in unison whilst singing “pick it up, pick it up!”.

When The Jungle Giants finished their set with ‘Used To Be In Love‘, someone in the crowd began pumping a plastic chair in the air. Following chants from the audience, the band returned, ending on a high note with arguably their best sing-along songs, ‘In Her Eyes‘ and ‘Heavy Hearted.’

It was an emotional ending, with Sam, Cesira, Andrew, and Keelan all hugging on stage before dancing off backstage as the set faded into the fog of the smoke machine. From start to finish, this show radiated joyous energy. Everyone was ecstatic to be there after a difficult year and it was exactly what was needed to get back on our feet and dance!