Coming up through the National Battle of the Bands way back in 1996, Jebediah quickly established the Perth music scene and became a staple of alternative Australian music in the 90s. Now touring on the back of their Kosciuszko release, the band are back after a four-year hiatus which saw lead vocalist/ guitarist Kevin Mitchell create the successful songbird alterego, Bob Evans.
Kosciuszko marks the return of these icons of Australian youth and signifies the band’s evolution. They are comfortable in their abilities and a sound that has distilled the reasons for their existence post-hiatus: the love of the game and to evolve their finely crafted power pop.
This evening sees a sell out crowd celebrate their long weekend with the help of Jebediah – a challenge that sits comofortably on their shoulders. Opening with the song heralding their return, ‘Lost My Nerve’, that band is met with nostalgic happiness and alcohol-drenched smiles.
The band indulges the audience in a mix of new and old, and delights their fans with anthems such ‘Benedict’, ‘Harpoon’, ‘Fall Down’, ‘Animal’ and ‘Feet Touch The Ground’, sprinkling the set list for maximum effect, and each song presented with a fever and intensity these rock gods bestowed upon them. There was minimal banter or jokes from the band and with good reason; this was a reissue of their live sound, showing a more serious band wanting the music to speak for itself.
All this was well received by the crowd. Some fans glad to see one of their favourites performed, others glad to see the band for the first time. Indeed, The Jeb factory may have to welcome a few more into their stable the next time they come through town.
New album tracks, ‘She’s Like A Comet’ and ‘Control’ likewise successfully fire, and add to a catalogue of music that is now being enjoyed by a generation used to Teflon and who don’t want to leave home. A new energy surrounds these songs but their place amongst their back catalogue is welcome and the band doesn’t appear to be in any danger of altogether losing fans, who like their old stuff better than their new stuff. They’ve evolved, but it’s still that quintessential Jebs sound.
Bassist, Vanessa Thornton, displays an ear-to-ear smile hinting at the band’s rediscovered glee in playing together for their fans once again. Jebediah have never been this accomplished or self-assured and their finish with ‘Leaving Home’ and ‘Jerks Of Attention’ sends people home on a high.
And that’s where Jebediah is now: creating fist-pumping celebrations of high quality power pop, and on this night, it’s complete with an audience that fortunately has the long weekend to catch the next morning’s fall.
When talking about a band that celebrated youth and angst, the passing of time requires a new message to sing to affirm their continuing their relevance. Kevin Mitchell’s time as Bob Evans has made him a better front man, searching for a new summit to reach and more excitingly, some new musicianship to do it with.
– Dan Gruszecki