Jakübi | 11.04.16

Fox Theatre, Boulder

jakubi-fox

Funk’s a weird thing. It’s either good or woefully bad, a collision or too many Instruments, too many players, and too many egos; too many jams, solos, bad dance moves, and bass lines. True: With funk, it’s all about that bass. Which is why that bass had better be damn good; it’s painfully obvious when it’s not. And to all you aspiring songwriters out there, funk or otherwise: For god’s sake, never, never, never sing a song whose refrain is “Be my baby maker.”

The night’s openers (I can’t recall their name, which, given this brief review, is probably a good thing) exemplified all that’s wrong with white boy-funk, delivering a set that felt twice as long as its 20-minute length. Luckily, we knew Jakübi was coming; there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

When the Aussie quartet came onstage—”All the way from Melbourne, Australia, with kangaroos and platypuses and that sort of thing”—they immediately took the preceding band to school. Strong lead vocals and harmonized background voices, backed by competent yet not overwhelming instrumentation, got the crowd instantly into the band.

Frontman Jerome Farah was self-assured, yet eminently likeable as he delivered moves, smiles, and rapport with the audience. Guitarist Robert Amoruso was equally enthralling, so full of energy and enthusiasm. When a band so obviously loves what they do, the crowd can’t help but have a great time. Although their look and sound could easily be from the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, their approach clearly was not: no attitude, hype, or hipster mentality.

When I go to see a band I like, I always want them to play longer. Tonight was surprising, as the quartet delivered a full 55-minute set—as a supporting act (they’re on tour with the Suffers). Unfortunately, that ended up being about 25 minutes too long.

Jakübi has one professional release, a four-song EP entitled 51 Barkley (and, to my shock, they didn’t even play all four songs). The EP is solid, delivering the funk while adding some ska and pop element s to show the band’s range. Tonight, though, the band decided to show even more range—and it just didn’t fit. While some of the non-album songs were good, a number of them weren’t, especially the hip-hop numbers that were largely weak and unimpressive.

When they played their single, the catchy “Nobody Better,” I thought for sure this was the end of the set: leave us all wanting more with their strongest, best-known song ringing in our ears. Nope; turned out this was only the halfway point—and with rare exception, it was downhill from there.

Suddenly, everything Jakübi was doing right went wrong. What happened to the music, the melody, the harmony? Now there was too much going on: too much bass, attempts at rap, call-and-response syllables that went nowhere. And then overuse of the talk box; in moderation, it was a unique touch, but with so many appearances, the vocal distortion grew tiresome and clichéd.

As the show turned into a free-for-all jam, the songs began to sound like something they had practiced in their garage. Sure, trying out sounds and styles probably helped them hone their craft—but this isn’t who they are anymore. If the guys in Jakübi want to continue their progression and growth as a band, they need to write some new stuff and weed out the unfocused back catalog. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 466 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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