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Jagwar Ma offer intense song expansion at The Independent

Jagwar-Ma_cover2Photos by James Nagel // Written by Mike Frash //

Jagwar Ma with Fascinator //
The Independent – San Francisco
December 11, 2013 //

It’s mind-boggling what two months of touring, an improved venue space and a more engaged crowd can do for a band and their live show. This emerging Aussie group performed their second sold-out show in the City Wednesday — they made their SF debut at Popscene October 3rd — and Jagwar Ma has improved exponentially in the short time between these two shows.

The performance Wednesday at the Independent revealed intense expansion of all songs performed. “Man I Need”, a would-be radio hit that doesn’t get very exploratory on the band’s debut record Howlin, elongated into hybrid dance-jam territory for over eight minutes, leaving more people to internalize the heady sound as opposed to displaying dance party rage.

The group’s intense mix of tripped out classic rock and EDM influences leaves the live listener grappling with the decision to close eyes and float away with the music or attempt to inspire a pogo-pit of dancing.

Jagwar-Ma

Through vocals, samples, drum machine use and live instrumental production, Jagwar Ma offer repetition and reverb to the point of transcendental euphoria quite effectively. “Uncertainty” contained a long, improvised outro section that had guitarist and lead singer Gabriel Winterfield surveying the crowd for the room’s pulse. Most everyone at the Indy appeared deeply immersed.

After seeing the group in October, it felt like Jagwar Ma needed to transition songs more effectively as a DJ would to keep the flow of the set going (Jono Ma, a founding member of the band with Winterfield, is essentially the group’s DJ on the road). But the biggest change Jagwar Ma has implemented since October is zealously enhancing the existing songs they have by making them even more epic and overwhelming. This time the breaks between songs allowed for a welcome breather.

No other act mixes psychedelic rock with electronic music that repurposes elements of house, techno and bass quite like Jagwar Ma — yet somehow the output feels sublimely poppy, steeped in musical elements from the past while embracing the future of awe-inspiring sound.

Jagwar Ma are poised to join the Aussie elite with Tame Impala and Cut Copy — this trio is most certainly an act to watch going into 2014.

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  1. […] Jagwar Ma // James Nagel The Independent // 12.11.13 […]

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