Jungle play in front of a bright screen

On a breezy spring night in Colorado, electronic music mainstays Jungle set the stage alight at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Hot on the heels of their fourth studio LP, Volcano, the group continues to blaze trails in EDM.

On Tuesday, April 17th, that meant playing with a six-piece band. Reproducing their soulful, danceable tunes live allows the group to stay creative and connected. The sold-out crowd at Red Rocks felt the funk, getting down to the jubilant beats with carefree dance moves.

View of the crowd at Red Rocks

As it turns out, dancing is a great way to stay toasty! At the start of their set, Marc Gilfry of opening group Neil Frances addressed the crowd, encouraging just that. First, Gilfry asked if fans were warm enough — to predictably mixed reactions and more than a few groans. He responded with: “There’s one way to fix that: Let’s move!” Thanks to his spirited performance, it was easy for concertgoers to comply.

Not Just DJs

For those familiar with the music of Jungle and Neil Frances, it may come as a surprise that both parties jammed out live performances. With each act widely known as an EDM producer duo, it is no shock that they reprised their band gigs with DJ sets.

Taking over the Ogden Theatre for a nightcap, both Jungle and Neil Frances threw down on the decks indoors after getting groovy on the rocks. With matching start and end times for the pair of shows and over 30 minutes of transit time between venues, most fans probably settled for one iteration.

A band is shown playing onstage

About 80 minutes after doors opened, Neil Frances kicked off the festivities. Don’t confuse the outfit with similarly named indie rocker Neal Francis and his band!

Comprised of Aussie Jordan Feller and SoCal native Gilfry, Neil Frances pumps out modern psychedelic-meets-disco music. Playing live, Feller handles keys and mixing duties while Gilfry drones out distorted guitar. Energetic bass guitar and drums round out their lineup onstage.

A man stands on a monolith engaging a crowd

During their performance, Gilfry enthralled the crowd with a scene I haven’t witnessed before at Red Rocks. Leaving the stage, he ascended the steps adjacent to the seats and climbed onto a sandstone formation.

Addressing the audience from atop the rocks, he led them in a call-and-response. Repeating the chorus of their cover of “Music Sounds Better With You” by Stardust, Gilfry encouraged the crowd to chant along. Once he descended back to the stage, the band launched into the raucous tune. That cover helped catapult Neil Frances to notoriety, garnering over 100 million streams.

Musical Magic

The pair of U.K. producers known as Jungle burst onto the scene in 2014 thanks to their self-titled LP. Known for their infectious rhythms & melodies, the duo of Josh Lloyd Watson (AKA ‘J Lloyd’) and Tom McFarland (AKA ‘T’) continue to push creative bounds.

The ambitious audiovisual undertaking surrounding Volcano is more Soul Train than Spotify playlist. After creating the music, including writing and recording songs to use as samples, they brought it to life visually. The album was accompanied by a movie-style collection of videos. Played in order, they tell the tale of the on-and-off-stage lives of Jungle’s talented dance troupe.

The mini-movie is titled Us Against The World, and it shares a title with the catchy cut that provided the album’s thematic backbone. While they didn’t haul the dancers along on tour, they did bring along their band!

Band shown playing onstage

Throughout the evening, Watson and McFarland took turns wielding guitars, belting out vocals, and engaging in live production. The pair split their time alternating between decks arranged at the front and rear center of the stage.

Regular album collaborator Lydia Kitto contributed sensational vocals and handled keyboards and guitar. The band also featured bass, drum, and percussion players to deliver Jungle’s action-packed sound in person.

Woman is shown singing and playing guitar onstage
A man is shown singing and playing guitar onstage
A man is shown singing and playing keyboard onstage

It’s a Jungle Out There!

Before the concert began, wild winds whipped through the park. The orange curtain which covered the width of the stage was blowing violently. Despite the best efforts of staff, it came loose and knocked over some of the equipment it had concealed. As they first lowered, then removed the drape entirely, the audience got an early peek at Jungle’s upcoming setup.

View of crowd and musicians onstage at Red Rocks
A band is shown playing onstage

During the headline set, the winds calmed, and production smoke bellowed like a proper London fog. Shrouding the stage in an air of mystery, the haze accentuated brilliant, Volcano-themed, red-orange lighting.

Illuminating the amphitheater, a giant LED screen started by displaying simple geometric shapes and patterns. As the night progressed, the patterns became more complex and moved more rapidly, generating euphoric visuals.

Bright stage lights shine down on an audience
Two musicians play in front of a bright screen

As their iconic JUNGLE signage shone brightly above the stage, the band poured out their energy on stage. Providing a platform for them to share their creativity with fans, the live shows are an outlet for the musicians. It also allows them to intertwine aspects of their art that are more challenging to showcase during a DJ set.

If you can witness one of these performances, I recommend you jump at the chance! Your eyes, ears and soul will thank you.

Photos by Kyle Weiss

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