Review By Terri Nas
A drizzly Wednesday night saw me headed northbound in the direction of The Night Cat in super-cool Fitzroy. Legendary Australian band, Jet, are touring the country to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their first hit album Get Born. Wednesday night’s gig was a warm-up show to kick off their tour, their first show being Friday night at The Forum.
If there’s one way to make yourself feel simultaneously young again but old as hell, it’s heading to see a band celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their first album that you played on high rotation during your youth. Wait… wasn’t it only yesterday that I was a perky, young and innocent 15-year-old, bouncing around at house parties to Are You Gonna Be My Girl? Where did these wrinkles come from? Why is my back killing me? This album stirs up so much nostalgia in me every time I listen to it, and I’m always instantly transported back to exact moments in time with each song.
This was my first time visiting The Night Cat, and upon entry into the hazy, red-lit room with its mismatched vintage light shades and killer vibe, I was instantly impressed. The stage is actually positioned in the middle of the room, giving the audience a full 360-degree experience of the talented humans who grace its stage. Booth style seating borders the perimeter of the room with a bar on the outskirts to boot. And for a few lucky ones there were small tables positioned on certain sides of the stage. I cut a few sweet laps to get a feel for the venue whilst the crowd was still slowly rolling in, and I soon found myself a nice little position side of stage and super close to the action.
Local Melbourne trio Neon Goblin kicked off the night and with their heavy bass lines and psychedelic sound, they set the mood for the evening. The crowd were suitably impressed with their set, and it was then time to bid these guys farewell.
The room gradually filled to its capacity of approximately 500 bodies for this sold-out show, and the crowd was starting to come alive in anticipation of Jet’s arrival. I was also interested to note the average age range of the punters there. Yes, I may be in denial about my own age, but I would say the crowd started at around 35 and up. Surprisingly a huge chunk of people would’ve been around my parents’ age. A true indication that music can touch any heart, of any age.
The lights dimmed and the intro music was turned up a notch – here come Jet.
Oh. My. God. My body was covered in goosebumps as they took command of the stage and flew straight into their hit Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Now it’s no secret that being a rockstar and the life that that entails can take its toll on the body and speed up the aging process. But is it possible that Jet have discovered the fountain of youth as they are looking better than ever. Just like a fine wine. Being so close to the stage that I could see the sweat on their upper lips, I know it wasn’t just an optical illusion of smoke, mirrors and good lighting.
The crowd were completely amped right from the first note and the energy that was emanating around me never faulted once. We were treated to She’s A Genius followed by Black Hearts. I loved that they threw in some other hits before they got right down to business – getting into their Get Born album track for track. Last Chance kicked off the album, followed by their first smash hit Are You Gonna Be My Girl. Yes, Jet, I will be your girl. There was not one person who wasn’t dancing or singing along by this point, as we were then led into the cheeky hit for all the DJ haters – Rollover DJ.
It was then time to kick it back a notch with the slow ballad Look What You’ve Done, which also had the crowd providing backing vocals. Get What You Need was the next cab off the rank, and with drummer/vocalist Chris Cester sadly missing in action due to family reasons, his brother and frontman of the band, Nic, took the lead vocals on this song and unsurprisingly smashed it. Nic then invited Melbourne-based singer/songwriter/musician Andre Warhurst on stage to join them for Move On. Bass player Mark Wilson traded in his bass for the harmonica for this track, and his kick-ass playing further convinced me that I really want to teach myself how to play this little free reed wind instrument.
Guitarist Cameron Muncey then took the reins on lead vocals and slowed the pace with Radio Song. Get Me Outta Here fired the energy back up again, and then this little Cold Hard Bitch was “shakin’ her hips, and it was all that I needed” to hear my most favourite Jet song. I wasn’t the only one loving this song, as I spotted a keen crowd surfer floating along the top of the crowd before swiftly disappearing back into the pack. The beauty of the stage being completely accessible from all sides meant that from my vantage point at the side of stage, I was privy to the band’s view of the audience. It really is such a warm feeling seeing those extra die-hard fans right at the front of the stage emanating pure awe and singing every single word to every single song, just as hard and as passionately as the band.
Come Around Again & Lazy Gun started to slowly round out the set, before it came to a close with the heartbreaking song Timothy, with Cameron back on lead vocals. With its melancholy melody and gut-wrenching lyrics, the song hits hard and the audience absorbed every moment. Nic then acknowledged that it was the point in the show where they would pretend to leave the stage and do an encore. Rather than doing that though, the band exited the stage and left Nic to do a beautiful acoustic rendition of Shine On. The rest of the band came back to join us with Andre Warhurst in tow, and we got to preview their new song Little Fish, which was extremely catchy and had me trying to sing along despite never hearing it before. Jet then decided to Bring It On Back before succumbing to multiple requests during the show to “get on your feet” and Rip It Up.
Jet have etched themselves into the Australian songbook of legendary rock bands, and their live shows do not disappoint. I have been to hundreds of gigs in my life of all different sizes, but this was by far one of the best. As I ventured home I was still buzzing and was wondering how the hell I was going to get any sleep with this intoxicating music high still running through me. The band were tight and Nic’s vocals are still in absolute tip-top shape. Their presence is subtly commanding and from the first beat, they own that stage and every single soul watching them. All I can say is Jet are better than ever, and if you nabbed tickets to this tour then you will be in for an absolutely awesome ride! And for those that missed out, my condolences on missing a shit-hot show.