2011 is proving to be a telling year for Australian indie veterans Jebediah. With the release of their foot tapping radio favourite ‘She’s Like a Comet’ coinciding with a key set performing a collection of hits and new material at this year’s St Kilda Festival in Melbourne, the band seem to have drummed up a great deal of anticipation leading up to the release of their 5th studio album Kosciuszko.

Powering through the main support slot were three piece rock outfit River Of Snakes who got the last minute call up to fill in for the ill Violent Soho. Fronted by Raúl Sánchez of Magic Dirt, these guys were out to make a huge sound and they did so nicely warming up the sold out Corner Hotel with huge amounts of fuzz and feedback and an energetic performance which certainly made good use of the venue’s huge sound system.

After what seemed a particularly long changeover period the curtain was finally unveiled to reveal the main act walking onto some crafty sound effects literally counting them down into album opener ‘Lost My Nerve’. Repeated chants of “Lost my nerve, I really lost my nerve” echoed through the song’s outro with the band and audience both showing their appreciation of one another before tearing into another new album track ‘Control’. Vanessa Thornton’s bass intro to Slightly Odway album track ‘Puck Defender’ signified the beginning of some heavy moshing down the front by old school fans waiting to hear the classics. Front man Kevin Mitchell joked in between songs about “how professional” it sounded to be playing songs from their back catalogue before moving into speedy new tunes ‘Under Your Bed’ and ‘High (Horse)’.

The energy level through the latter part of the set was raised on stage and throughout the audience with the band ripping through a handful of old favourites like ‘Please Leave’, ‘Harpoon’, ‘Fall Down’ and ‘Benedict’ before treating the crowd to current sing-a-long single ‘She’s Like A Comet’ which the crowd was equally appreciative of, if not more. Lead guitarist Chris Daymond straight away led the band into 1999 hit ‘Animal’ which to signified the beginning of many crowd surfers for the remainder of the night. The set came to a close with the band performing another new track, ‘Oxygen’ which left the rowdy crowd far from satisfied.

After what seemed a lengthy break the anticipation grew as the audience demanded the Jebs back on stage. A bunch of rowdy blokes in their late 20s were chanting ‘Monument’ over and over but the absence of the b-side to the 1997 ‘Leaving Home’ single wasn’t going to give these men the taste of nostalgia they were after. Instead the band showcased more new songs from Kosciuszko – ‘More Alone’ and ‘Battlesong’ before driving the set home with classics ‘Feet Touch The Ground’, ‘Leaving Home’ and ‘Jerks Of Attention’.

There is a collective energy between the four members on stage which gives this group the character they’ve required to carry them into their 17th year of performing and making music together. Tonight, on the back of their latest album and tour was a perfect example showing the 800 odd people in the room that they are not just a retrospective Australian indie band from the 90s who once had a couple of good albums but rather they’re still a creative driving force in the Australian music scene.

–       Stefan Edberg