JAMBINAI @ Chevron Festival Gardens (for PIAF)


Jambinai, Gold Class @ Chevron Festival Gardens (for PIAF)
Thursday, February 23, 2017


In a rather heavy double-bill for PIAF, the midweek set challenged risk-taking audiences to brave their darker side, and those that did were rewarded beyond expectation.

Melbourne four-piece Gold Class opened to a largely empty Festival Gardens venue. Exhibiting a punk-mod image, front man Adam Curtly’s voice carried through the night and quickly drew the audience in.

Although Gold Class cite the likes of Radio Birdman and Gang of Four as influences, it’s hard to deny comparisons with Ian Curtis and Joy Division. The band delivered an intense and loud show, amplifying tracks from their 2015 album It’s You including Michael, Athena and Furlong, as well as recent single Kids on Fire.

Curtly was visibly lost in the performance, dancing around wildly and leaning precariously over the stage edge, eventually succumbing to gravity and jumping down to join the small crowd of front row fans for a final sing-a-long ending for Life as a Gun.



After a long break between acts, the lights finally darkened for what was one of the most anticipated, and curious, acts of the 2017 Perth Festival season. Sparsely positioned across the stage, South Korean outfit Jambinai summoned the crowd to order with lead Lee Il-woo on the taepyeongso horn for the opening Deus Benedicat Tibi. It was clear from the beginning that something special was happening on stage.



Jambinai evidently have significant inspiration in post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai, but their incorporation of traditional instruments juxtaposed against aspects of thrash metal give their music a unique sound and complexity unlike others in the genre. It’s the traditional instruments that take primary position in the front of the stage, including the intimidating geomungo. At over a meter in length, the giant string instrument captured the audience’s attention, perfectly controlled by a seated Shim Eun-young. Sitting in the opposite corner, the stone-faced concentration of Kim Bo-mi wielded the fiddle-like haegeum to produce the ghostly watermark of the setlist.

With two albums 2012’s Differance and last year’s A Hermitage, highlights included The Mountain, Echo of Creation, guitar-driven war theme Wardrobe, and seven minute epic For Everything That You Lost. Appropriately they closed with the closest  they had to a crowd favourite, Connection.

A humble Lee Il-woo broke the meditation of the performance to confess that the band was tired from having travelled a great distance from recent shows in Chile to be in Perth. But he appeared overwhelmed by the audience’s appreciation, saying it provided energy for the performance and vowing to return.



Signalling the end of the night, a single bass note was thrown from the back of the stage that sent a wave of vibration under the feet of the now ecstatic crowd. While people cried for more, the band momentarily came together for the obligatory stage selfie.

On exiting the venue, the audience was unanimous: this event had been one of those truly rare performances where expectations were blown away, replaced with the sensation of having witnessed something very unique. If you weren’t there on Thursday evening, you may experience real feelings of regret, as this was certainly one of the early calls on gig of the year.


Pics by Daniel Craig

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