Jakarta Criers
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Jakarta Criers

Band Alternative Rock

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You wouldn’t think that a live music venue could be as small as Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge, but its brick walls that surround the small yet relaxing space seem to work for the artists that perform here. Jakarta Criers, who recently won the Triple J Unearthed competition, played Big Day Out 2013 and I thought they were loud then, so it is interesting to see the boys go from such a large tent to a small loft in Fortitude Valley.

As the boys set up their gear, you can hear the guitars and drums bouncing off the walls, giving you a quick glimpse as to how loud a Jakarta Criers show might be. Vocalist James Walker and bassist Will Rowles sport colourful shirts, Walker with various fruits scattered across navy blue, and Rowles with a good old Hawaiian button-up. Soon the guitars fill the room with a relaxed rock sound that Jakarta Criers are known for. The music bounces off the walls and they are at the right rock level that they should be, which unfortunately pierces the ears in such a small space.

Jakarta Criers sound as crisp and clear as they did at their Big Day Out show and of course at our very own Society of Sound Launch Party! Walker’s vocals are clear and oh so sweet, they echo through your eardrums with the melodies made by Walker, drummer Wil Logan and guitarist Seaton Fell-Smith. The song changeover is swift, and you can tell that the boys just want to play their music, and isn’t that what it’s all about in the end, the music? It always has been for this Brisbane quartet, and as the smooth, deep bass leads the band’s second track of the night, you can hear why Triple J love them, and why we love them too.

The three way harmony by Walker, the colourful Rowles, and young Fell-Smith is one that the three rock boys, well, rock and as the track reaches IMG_7047the climax, so does the voice of the three men on the strings. As always, guitarist Seaton Fell-Smith is the most energetic bobbing his entire body along with the tracks, his blonde fringe flowing from one side of his face to the other shining against the small lights. Drummer Wil Logan breaks a sweat very early on showing that it’s either very hot up on stage, or he’s playing his guts out – either way the sweat is always worth it right, Seaton?

A brief break has James telling the intimate audience about their next track, keeping it short and brief before breaking out into a track that not only has a wonderful beat to sway along to, it’s a track that seems to show the best vocals of the night so far! Seaton dances all over left stage as a small guitar solo breaks out. His energy is contagious because I feel like dancing up with him, even though I know that would be unheard of. James seems to dance a lot more as the set goes on, along with Will Rowles whose backing vocals partner the lead vox like a tub of ice cream with some cold peaches – which is perfectly if you’re wondering.

Both James and Seaton get to show off their guitar skills before opening with a brand new track, which never goes astray at a gig. The new track itself is very cruisey and laid-back, and is probably the slowest track they’ve played all night. The regular fast paced beats have been replaced with a steady, hard drum beat and it has a slight country feel to it which probably should feel odd, but works fairly well. Later in the track the fast-paced rock barges in seemingly almost blowing the speakers off the stage. The boys all gather together mid stage and it’s these loud moments that show the band as a unit. It shows us that they really are a band that sticks together. It may be cheesy but hey, everyone gets to be cheesy sometimes.

I’m glad to have seen Jakarta Criers play a few times because I now know I am guaranteed a good show. There’s a cool energy flowing throughout the gig, the sound is clear and rocks darn well, but these boys definitely deserve a large stage to play on, they’re a band with a pretty large presence, and that presence can’t be restricted to just a small loft. It just can’t. - Brisbane Society of Sound


Before we get there, though, there are ten or so hours of live music to experience. Some of it good, some of it not. triple j Unearthed winners Jakarta Criers fall firmly into the former camp. They're not doing anything particularly fresh or original within the confines of rock music, but the songs are good. So's the musicianship and stage presence. They combine ‘Wicked Game’, ‘Come As You Are’ and ‘Gone Away’ into one mega-cover, which is a kinda cheap tactic but handled well, so the young Brisbane quartet score points. They play before several hundred applauding people today. I think they'll be just fine. A career rock band in the making; a Birds Of Tokyo with balls, perhaps. - The Vine


Tune! The guitars in this song are awesome. - Triple J Unearthed


Discography

Moonlife - Debut EP
Peking - Single
Maybe - Single

Photos

Bio

After spending the ten or so years since primary school jamming together, these four Brisbane lads thought it was time to name themselves and go record. What came out the other end has to be heard to be believed.

West African inspired pop accompanied by synths, matched with trendy haircuts is exactly what this is not. Jakarta Criers are not messing around with throw away pop and or conforming to current trends to gain recognition.

The boys tasted success this year after releasing their debut EP 'Moonlife' in June 2012, recorded by the legendary Australian producer 'Magoo'. The EP, brimming with sweet melodies, original guitar lines and loads of hooky goodness, was well received by Australian and international music fans, with debut single 'Peking' finding it's way onto high rotation across the Triple J airwaves. Although Peking became the chosen single, delving deeper into the EP finds the band's versatile dynamics and unique song writing ability.

Getting around the countryside supporting established artists such as Battlleships, Oceanics and The Griswolds is the dream Jakarta Criers went to sleep wishing for. However with barely time to open their eyes, they were announced as winners of the 2012 Valley Fiesta "local love" competition giving them a chance to share the stage with childhood heroes Arrested Development and modern day heroes Violent Soho.

2013 kicked off in style with the release of second single, ‘Maybe’ and the chance to grace the stages of Big Day Out, thanks to winning Triple J Unearthed’s Big Day Out competition.

Lead single ‘Peking’ has seen the band receive love from all corners of the globe through Passport Approved and then being on high rotation on stations in the USA and even Peru. Back in Australia it has been on high rotation on Radar Rock. The coming months will see the band out on the road playing headline shows, major supports and festivals.