The stage was drowning in flushing red and blue light an hour before any acts began. In fact, while the doors had opened at 7:30pm, the first band, Opossum, didn’t begin playing until 9pm.
Despite not pulling a large crowd initially, Opossum held the attention of Jinja Safari’s most eager fans through their quirky stage personas and casual joking manner. Once they had explained to the crowd that they could sit down multiple times, the lead singer suggested that if anyone was “ballsy” enough they could steal their CD – as long as they enjoyed it.
Though a few of their songs dragged on, their overall performance was energetic and enjoyable, with the multitalented group readily swapping instruments and vocals throughout the set. The trio chatted happily between themselves and the front-most audience members between songs, which added charm to their overall performance. Departing the stage after instructing the crowd to “just go and buy our record… it’s really colourful.”
Fresh from Splendour in the Grass, Jinja Safari bounded onto stage, the lead singer armed with an array of wooden necklaces and bracelets that foreshadowed the tribal elements of their set.
Their white shirts clashed with the rising smoke background as bright green, red and blue lights drenched the audience in colour acting as a cue for Jinja Safari to jump into their upbeat song, “Hiccups”. Within minutes, a conga line had formed in the centre of the crowd, and the band members’ infectious enthusiasm had almost everyone in the room madly dancing around.
With their smooth vocals and the dripping happiness of the band members, Jinja Safari were intensely engaging. Even with only a limited amount of banter between songs, their bold, mesmeric tunes easily integrated the crowd into their summery-style of music.
Their set was impressively vibrant and the crowd was lit up with grinning faces throughout their entire performance. Regardless of the relatively small venue, the blinding lights throughout the set gave the impression of grandeur, and the upbeat melodies brought with them a haziness of wanderlust.
A whirlwind of wildly playful, African jungle-inspired songs later, Jinja Safari announced that they would be incorporating the songs that they had planned as an encore into their set, so they wouldn’t be playing an actual encore.
Hurrying to make the most of the final three songs, a number of fans began crowd surfing, dancing in twirling movements and swaying in groups, somehow managing to continue clapping rhythmically the entire time.
Before introducing what would be their final song, “Mermaids”, each member of Jinja Safari thanked the crowd profusely, and encouraged everyone to wait around afterwards to get signatures and CDs.
Towards the end of “Mermaids”, the artists were cast as silhouettes against the dazzling white background. Each member fell into a chaotic excitement while swapping instruments and singing and clapping along to the beat. This was the lively end to Jinja Safari’s set, and each member sprung off stage with even more energy than they had entered with.
– Alexandra Skeer