The word velvet has connotations of smooth, soft and unique, while jungle brings about thoughts of chaos and all things wild. This sums up the performance of Perth psychedelic pop unit Velvet Jungle who put up their first headline show at The Bird last Wednesday night.
Five-piece indie surf pop group Mal de Mer brought the energy straight from the get-go. Kicking off with Do You Wanna Know, frontwoman Saskia Fleming worked her way through their usual tracklist. Fleming commanded attention with her powerful vocals alongside an aura of confidence. The band smashed out funky track after funky track and hit the crowd favourites with Ban Jovi and Wet Socks. Mal de Mer have such a funky and original sound, which got the crowd excited for the night ahead and pulled a significant crowd for the first opening band of the evening.
Psychedelic pop band Airline Food clambered on stage next. With the power to transport you somewhere else with their music, these guys truly have something special going on. Something Like That was the perfect dreamlike song—it made you think of driving at night with your friends with the windows down as you felt the wind blow between your fingers. Airline Food created such a euphoric atmosphere throughout The Bird. Songs like What I’m Looking For and Another Time included instrumentals that made me get lost in the music, close my eyes and wish I could sway along to them forever.
The Bird was transformed as Velvet Jungle were setting up. The venue was taken from a small stage to a jungle far away. Maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but the fake plants Velvet Jungle added to the stage made a significant difference in changing the atmosphere and preparing the crowd for what was to come.
Velvet Jungle only have one song on their YouTube channel, Eliza, so I wasn’t too sure about what to expect from them, but boy was I blown away. Singer Conor Lawson owned the stage and gave out such infectious energy. Lawson looked so at home on the stage and seemed so genuinely ecstatic for them to be headlining their first show. It was impossible not to feel the same level of elation while watching him jump and dance around with his guitar.
The group’s funky dream pop sounds pulled the crowd together from all the dark corners of The Bird. The band kicked into No Dancing (title subject to change), a track with a punchy bassline and funky synths that demonstrated Lawson’s raw and powerful vocals. Contrary to the song name, the crowd did in fact dance along and rocked out hard—almost as hard as Lawson himself, who jumped around so much his glasses fell off.
The band blessed everyone’s ears with new track Welcome to My Life before jumping into the better-known tune Eliza. The live performance of Eliza was filled with so much more energy than the recorded version you can find on their Facebook, and it was truly a pleasure to watch. It was clear the crowd was enjoying themselves as they danced along.
Lawson took the energy down a notch with a slower track, You Don’t Know Me before ramping it back up again with Vibing With the Gadget Man. For their first time playing the track, they were very smooth and well put together. Next up was a cover: Electric Feel by MGMT. The band absolutely smashed this out of the park. They took a classic song and added their own flavour, which transformed it in the best way.
Velvet Jungle ended their set with In Love With No Body, and left the crowd in love with them and wanting more. Their tracks were packed full of instrumental parts which showcased each member’s incredible talent. Frontman Lawson clearly loves performing in Velvet Jungle, and his jitters of excitement were passed from the stage to the crowd throughout the evening.
With funky synth beats and superb guitar shredding, this psychedelic funk indie-pop group was one to catch when you want to dance your night away with a constant smile on your face.