OAKLAND — Jungle pulled out its grooviest rhythms and brought the heat of a party to the Fox Theater on a chilly Tuesday. The London modern soul collective, carried by Josh “J” Lloyd-Watson and Tom “T” McFarland, presented a show full of excitement and intensity guided by funky ’70s rhythms and electronic bass.
Jungle opened with the first songs off its newest album, For Ever: “Smile” and “Heavy, California,” both of which had a disco-funk groove. They followed those with “The Heat” and “Julia,” from the band’s 2014 self-titled album, and “Happy Man For Ever,” the disco loop of “Beat 54 (All Good Now),” “Cherry” and “Pray”— all from For Ever, an album with the band’s signature funky disco rhythms and melodies but one that was more substantial than its first release.
Jungle’s set continued to hop back and forth between its two albums, with tracks like “Lucky I Got What I Want,” “Platoon.” “Crumbler” and “Lemonade Lake.” The main set ended with “Casio,” “House in L.A.” and “Drops.” Jungle then played an encore that included popular cuts “Busy Earnin’” and “Time,” both of which were featured on FIFA video games.
Chicago-born, SoCal-based musician Dexter Tortoriello’s project Houses opened the concert by traversing from the blissed-out hypnagogic textured pop sound of “Fast Talk” to “Left Alone,” which featured fast-paced rhythms that still carried an ethereal sound. Tortoriello included the other two cuts from his 2018 EP, Drugstore Heaven: “Years” and “Pink Honey.”
Backed by three musicians who took up only a small portion of the stage, Houses also revisited old songs like “Soak It Up,” from 2010’s All Night, which featuring more ambient and softer sound. By preceding Jungle’s intensity, Houses served as the calm before the storm.