If you google J.F.K you’ll be presented with an abundance of images and websites about the good ol’ US President John F. Kennedy. This JFK may be dead, but Perth garage-rock band J.F.K is alive and kicking. Named after its lead singer James Francis Knox, rather than the historical figure as many may assume, the band put on one hell of a show for the final leg of their It EP tour at Badlands last Saturday.
Poor time management and a spurt of bad luck with trains led me to arrive just in time to catch the final opening act, Myths. The psych-pop group were the perfect act to play before J.F.K. Their dreamy dance tracks brought the crowd together from all corners of the room and got everyone to the front to have a boogie. Nostalgia and Sepia Secrets were my personal favourites. Packed full of fun, splashy synths and flavourful layers, the group provided perfect tracks to get your groove on to.
The lights flashed white as the band got ready to begin. Before frontman James Knox bounded onto the stage dressed in typical J.F.K attire—a suit. They seamlessly slipped into the title track of their EP It and were full of energy straight from the get-go. Their tasteful blend of garage-rock, psych-rock and Brit-pop was demonstrated within seconds. No longer weighed down by a guitar, Knox was able to use both hands and let loose on stage. With the amount of jumping around and dancing that took place, it was no surprise that Knox’s suit jacket didn’t last very long and came off after the first song.
The level of energy the group brought with them was infectious. There wasn’t a person around who refused to dance along. Knox gave such an animated and manic performance that it would have been more impressive if you could resist jumping with him.
Up next was Forget About It, a gritty and powerful track from the new EP. It’s a song full of life, and their vibrant performance successfully wowed the crowd. The band moved on to Roll With It, a track written about a strange encounter with at a friend at a house party. Knox stole the show with the level of swagger he oozed as he strutted around to the punchy track.
Feel It Again, one of the more popular tracks off It, and one of my personal favourites, definitely delivered. The crowd was sweaty and smiling as they thrashed around with their arms in the air, bouncing off one another and twisting their hips.
Illuminated by orange hues, the group took the energy down a notch to play Faded, a slow older song. The acoustic number from their 2017 debut EP Stages demonstrated the range of the band’s talents and showed off Knox’s ability to not only rock out hard but be able to strip it back too.
An obvious highlight of the evening was A Boy and a Boy. It’s based on Knox’s personal experience with his boyfriend, when he couldn’t even eat a meal in peace without receiving a dirty look from a mother and daughter. Written as a “fuck you” to homophobia during the gay marriage plebiscite, it went on to win the WAM Rock Song Of The Year 2017/18. It’s impossible to ignore the passion behind this politically charged track, and it was a clear crowd pleaser.
The five-piece closed the night with Trust Your Man, and left the crowd feeling rather unsatisfied. They were only off stage for a few minutes before an encore was willed upon them. J.F.K hadn’t prepared for this response and were clearly overwhelmed by the amount of support they had received, but the boys stepped up to the task and provided the people with what they wanted and played Lovers as the last track of the evening.
After a performance like that, this group has skyrocketed to becoming my favourite local act. The honest and often vulnerable lyricism pairs well with the blazing guitars and punchy rock sound to create tracks that everyone can enjoy. Knox’s animated stage presence fashioned such a vibrant atmosphere, and the band jelled so well together to construct a smooth-sailing set that left everyone wanting more.
J.F.K’s latest EP, It, is available to stream and download right now.