I see an insane amount of concerts, but I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing Jukebox the Ghost live. Whenever the threesome confirms dates that find them returning to our fair city, I get absolutely giddy. I honestly have a hard time imagining anyone not having fun at a Jukebox the Ghost show. There’s Jesse Kristin constantly switching out drumsticks for maracas, Tommy Siegel dancing and bouncing across the stage with his guitar, and Ben Thornewill stroking the ivories while clapping, pointing, and endlessly making faces to punctuate the whole thing. Listening to their albums versus actually seeing Jukebox the Ghost perform live is like the difference between listening to the soundtrack to a musical and then actually going to see it on Broadway. [Text by Marci, photos by Chris.]
The band's latest LP is like a psychotic break from the two albums that came before it, especially previous album Everything Under the Sun, which was produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National) and displayed a darker edginess to it. On 2012's Safe Travels, there’s a mix of both full-out unabashed power pop and soulful, introspective, downright beautiful anthems. These new songs filled most of the setlist and made me fall even more in love with Safe Travels, as each one revealed their range over and over again. They kicked things off with “Somebody,” the irresistibly bouncy “hopeful song of longing.” The simple, heartfelt delivery of “Man in the Moon” just about brought me to tears with its lyrics about loving someone and letting them go, but not letting go all the way. And I was in heaven when they performed “Spiritual,” an incredibly powerful song about love and mortality that escalates to big, lush choruses pleading to a greater power for relief.
One of the things you can always expect at a Jukebox the Ghost show is a cover of whatever song they’re fixated on at the moment. Last tour it was Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever.” This tour the trio is taking advantage of all the great cheesy numbers they learned when they played a friend’s wedding. While they started out with a cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” it collapsed when Ben got sidetracked by the crowd swaying, arms entwined, and wondered to himself aloud what he would do if it happened at their 9 a.m. appearance on Orlando’s Sports Talk 1080 the next day. We never did get to hear the full song, but they followed that up with playful snippets of some other amazing tracks, like “Twist and Shout,” “My Girl,” “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Don’t Stop Believing.”
The guys all stuck around after the show to take pictures with fans and sign everything thrust in front of their faces. I couldn’t resist telling Tommy that he reminds me of a missing member of another of my favorite bands, Dr. Dog. He told me they’re actually buddies with Dr. Dog, so I told him they should definitely come back in a couple weeks to see them at Gasparilla Music Festival. While I don’t think that’s going to happen, they’re the kind of guys that make believe they’re really going to consider it.
My Heart’s the Same
Lighting Myself on Fire
Man in the Moon
So Let Us Create
A Matter of Time
Somebody to Love (partial)
Twist and Shout (partial)
My Girl (partial)
She Drives Me Crazy (partial)
Don’t Stop Believing (partial)
Hold It In
Static to the Heart
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.