ACL Live Review: Jungle

A distinctly sun-drenched, West Coast vibe from the UK

UK childhood friends Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland – J and T – formed Jungle in 2013, an electronic affair connecting the dots from Daft Punk to Dam-Funk. On Friday in Zilker Park, the one-time bedroom project came alive onstage as a six-piece ensemble for a steamy, late-afternoon set mining throwback boogie and modern disco grooves.

Photo by Jana Birchum

“Austin City Limits,” hollered Mcfarland. “Are you ready for a fucking fiesta!?”

It’s a corny line, yet everything the band does oozes ocean-breeze cool. Drizzly London may serve as home base, but the act crafts a distinctly sun-drenched, West Coast vibe on “Heavy, California,” lead single from last month’s sophomore LP For Ever. With fly falsettos riding a wave of layered and lush, mid-tempo synth grooves, it proved a sonic equivalent to the huge, golden brown and velvet curtain draping the back of the stage.

Jungle fancies itself a collective and doesn’t boast a true front person. McFarland and Lloyd-Watson, each stationed at a keyboard with guitar in hand, were flanked by two female singers and the entire collective sang every note of earworms like “Smile” and “Julia” in chorus. The formula proved powerful, a communal call to dance. The crowd obliged, bobbing and vibing to the closing combo of “Busy Earnin’” and “Time,” fan favorites from the crew’s self-titled 2014 debut.

“For a lot of British musicians, Austin is where we start in the U.S., so this is like our spiritual home,” McFarland said before signing off with a simple plea. “Love each other.”

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Jungle, ACL Fest 2018, ACL Music Fest 2018, Josh Lloyd-Watson, Tom McFarland, Daft Punk, Dam-Funk

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