JEFF the Brotherhood With Sealion and Not in the Face Club Dada, Dallas Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The headliner gets the smoke machine. JEFF The Brotherhood is the headliner, therefore, they get the smoke machine. The band is tucked neatly under tufts of smoke, playing their hearts out to a crowd of manic fans inside Club Dada. It's funny, the title of the band's latest album is Hypnotic Nights and it couldn't be a more apt or self-aware or aspirational banner. Those manic fans in the front, in the eye of the mosh pit storm, are in a trance.
Nashville's JEFF the Brotherhood is a pretty straightforward band name. It's comprised of two brothers, Jake and Jamin Orrall. Part of their draw is the fact that they're two brothers just playing good old rock 'n' roll with one another. Except, the emphasis on the just-us-brothers part has been nixed as of late. The Orralls enlisted the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach for the aforementioned album, Hypnotic Nights.
It's worth mentioning that the Black Keys are basically JEFF the Brotherhood's doppelganger -- two dudes, garage rock with southern roots and as popularity comes knocking a producer is hired (Danger Mouse in the case of the Keys). Auerbach's influence in the studio is felt. The songs feel a bit more focused and at times like probable anthems. However, the most prescient thing Orrall squared may have learned from their garage rock Yoda is bringing in some help on stage.
JEFF the Brotherhood is now touring with a bassist and a second guitarist to add more punch and volume, filling up the entire room with their tales of reckless youthful abandon, like "Sixpack," an infectious number about an insatiable thirst for beer. And then there's "Ripper," a song from their 2011 album, We Are Champions. It's a thunderous, bowel-shaking song with more fuzz than an ugly Christmas sweater and it picks up speed as it comes to a close. Though the songs are brisk, fun and lacking in substance in all the right ways, there's still something left to be desired.
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As somewhat of a jam band, breaking into longish instrumental breaks, it's easy to get lost or hypnotized during a song. And while its awesome to hear things that are loud and/or fast, these are the very symptoms that lead to nearly indecipherable songs if you aren't listening closely enough.
The good thing is that you don't have to be "listening closely enough." JEFF the Brotherhood is more about style, energy and noise than anything else. The crowd was parted into two sections, separated by an invisible line. The moshers barreled into each other continuously, filling up Club Dada with a sweaty musk, while the smiling, head-nodding patrons took in the scene behind them.
As mighty and as badass as JEFF the Brotherhood is, the champions of the evening were Sealion, a Dallas-based surf-punk-garage outfit. They completely tore the roof off of the place with their youthful, melodic and agile set. It's almost like they were having more fun than the crowd, but this cannot be the case, because a 10-year old hopped on stage and danced around and sang. Eventually, he made his way around the room crowd surfing. As a rule of thumb, when a 10-year old crowd surfs at a rock show on a summer night, it is a momentous occasion.
Austin's Not in the Face opened things up to start off the night. The lead singer pranced around and gyrated, showcasing true moves like Mick Jagger. The band played and looked the part of a heavy southern rockin' band from the 1970s. Suffice to say, Parade of Flesh curated a hell of a bill for what stands to be the most interesting and reliable concert series planting its flag across the country, Red Bull Sound Select. Hopefully it's something that never ends. It's such a joy to have such hypnotic nights.