Philadelphia Grand Jury

24 April 2019 – The Blackbear Lodge – words and pictures by Bec Harbour

In 2009, Hope is for Hopers was a breath of fresh air in Australian music when it was wandering about not really knowing what to do with itself. I’d stopped listening to Triple J and had moved across to sourcing my new music from the internet. Philadelphia Grand Jury, or as their kick drum skin proclaims – the Philly J’s, didn’t sound like like much else out there.

They still don’t.

The Philly J’s are an eclectic mix, their sound has evolved but their high energy has remained the same – they move around the stage more than any other band I have photographed AND this includes drummer Dan W. Sweat who at the end of the set got his kit moved into the crowd.

They were supported by Georgie Nielsen and the Palms and Jaguar Jonze. I missed Georgie Nielsen and the Palms, by all accounts I missed a great set from them (darn Valley parking). Jaguar Jonze played an amazing set – they just keep getting better every time I see them play.

The Philly J’s started their set with No You Don’t. Second song was Ready to Roll.Their set was carefully constructed with crowd favourites sandwiched with the brand new song $10K – and recorded dialogue (I was trying to work out how Simon “Berkfinger” Berckelman was speaking – turns out you record your stage banter prior to the gig). At the end of the set Berckelman and Joel “MC Bad Genius” Beeson swapped guitar and bass duties, then handed them off to members of the audience while they moved the drum kit into the audience.

This was a great gig, they only have one show left to play after this one (Gum Ball Festival in the Hunter Valley). If you missed this gig, you might have missed out on seeing them for a while.