Live review: Bluejuice + Gung Ho + The Cairos – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, April 2012

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The rain-soaked streets of Brisbane’s West End are already full of the usual mix of hipsters, tramps, and drunks by the time the queue of people to see Bluejuice begins to stretch a couple of hundred metres along the side of the Hi-Fi on a cold Saturday night.

Although not quite a full house, the venue is tightly packed for what promises to be an exciting night of music featuring the Sydney pop-rockers, supported by local lads Gung Ho and The Cairos.

First up are Gung Ho; a young band deservedly making big waves on Triple J and with a very bright future ahead of them. Their catchy single ‘Twin Rays’ closes out a short, yet bright set of jangly indie pop.

Next is The Cairos, another band for whom we have high hopes, and also from the school of Triple J. Filling out a set with power, catchiness, and plenty of pop hooks, the local lads seem set for stardom; their new single ‘Shame’ being the highlight of a fun set.

With the crowd well-oiled and raring to go, the Bluejuice boys waste no time in bouncing onto the stage in retina-melting fluorescent garb, sending the enthusiastic audience into a frenzy with a flurry of arms-in-the-air calls to power. Blasting out opener ‘Can’t Keep Up’ with the enthusiasm of a bunch of kids who ate way too much sugar, vocalists Jake Stone and Stavros Yiannoukas work well together, and their infectious energy, unabashed smut, and calls for audience participation turn the crowd into one rippling, surging mass of energy.

They quickly follow up with ‘Recession’ and ‘Vitriol’; the latter track seeing Stone standing on the monitor leading his audience in a sing-along, complete with uniform arm-pumping. It’s at this point it becomes clear that Stone puts everything on the line for his performance, including himself. Over the next couple of songs, he forces his impossibly-skinny body through the audience at floor-level, along the railings at the side of the raised seating area, and back to the stage via the heads and shoulders of the audience; being pulled, pushed, and probably groped in all directions. As he returns to his vantage point he thanks security for “saving his life again,” and the crowd at the front responds with a massive cheer.

Older tune ‘Ain’t Telling The Truth’ keeps the energy levels high, before ‘I’ll Put You On’ is unashamedly introduced by Stone as a “song about fucking.” A tune with Rick James levels of down-and-dirty funk; it’s one the Bluejuice boys clearly wrote with the ladies in mind, and the Hi-Fi girls at front-and-centre show their appreciation with increasingly-frenzied dancing and ear-drum-piercing screaming.

‘Shock’ follows next; another slice of bouncy pop, before Stone again plunges into the crowd and is nearly swallowed up. Once again the security team prove their worth and drag him back to safety.

The majority of songs on Company get an enthusiastic run-out, and just as the energy level starts to drop, Yiannoukas announces “this is our second last song, but we’ll see some of you after for a beer and some sex,” before the band launches into the ridiculously-catchy single ‘Act Yr Age’. This gets the biggest reaction of the night as the crowd loses their collective marbles. Dozens of fluorescent glow sticks are launched into the audience from the stage, adding to the party hijinks.

The band then say their thanks and leave the stage for barely a couple of minutes; the foot-stomping and calls for more bringing them back out to fire off a mellow and melancholy cover of KC & the Sunshine Band’s smash ‘Please Don’t Go,’ before finishing up the set, thanking everyone and walking off stage to massive applause and deafening cheers.

It’s a cold, harsh moment when the house lights flick on at the end of a gig and it’s time to crash back to the reality of hard city streets, fast food litter, and cab rank queues. This is especially true after a gig full of such high energy and danceable pop tunes like the one Bluejuice just put on. A fantastic night of carefree good times was had by all. What more could you want from your Saturday night?

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