Jurassic 5 LIVE @ Brixton Academy

Jurassic 5 broke many hearts when they broke up in 2007, ten years after releasing their first record. They released 4 studio albums over ten years, and this year, at Coachella festival, they reunited. Those of us without enough pennies in the bank to hop over to LA for the celebfest hoped to hell that they’d follow it with a bit of a tour. Happily our wishes came true.

Brixton Academy was gently buzzing upon arrival for the gig. Almost everyone was wearing a resolute, ‘excited but no school night drunkenness face’. The demographic was quite particular, 25-35 year olds, and the vast majority men. J5 presumably reminded them of when they used to smoke pot and occasionally go to lectures. Wearing tracksuit bottoms. Now they are serious young professionals of course, and not many were keen to get to the front of the action to begin with. This worked wonderfully in our favour as it made it very easy to slip to and from the bar through the polite bunch, and enabled us to get a good feel for the vibe throughout the Academy.

J5 kicked off with ‘Back 4 U’ from 2006 album ‘Feedback’ and we were promptly transported back in time as the audience’s somewhat self-conscious bouncing began. It was a goose bump moment, just being there, seeing them rocking it together again on stage. We were excited, but not blown away just yet. The energy levels weren’t quite there yet. Next came ‘Be Somebody’, from their 2002 album ‘Power in Numbers’ which saw the energy levels rise and the crowds enthusiasm grow as that second pint was sinking in a bit.


Then we whizzed back to 1999 with ‘Improvise’, which never charted in the UK. They were obviously loving being up there on stage together again, vibing off each other. Rapturous screams were the crowd’s response to each of their spine tinglingly executed solos.  And at just about that moment I felt that we were all warmed up is when it started getting really fun. 

During a few minutes off stage, Dj Nu Marc and Cut Chemist, previously tucked away at the back, came to the forefront and began scratching a record that looked like a guitar, a full mixing desk apron (possibly not the technical term?!), and a ridiculous, metre wide monster record. A brilliantly random bout of musical silliness.

Back on the stage there were personal intros to each of the band members, and then came the moment everyone had been waiting for, ‘Concrete Schoolyard’. The party had started. Everyone began flocking to the front, filling it up and getting a bit less polite about it (about bloody time too!) We were all just in there partying with Jurassic 5. As you do. And it continued to get more sexy and bassy, with ‘Baby Please’. It felt like a case of ‘If Carlsberg did hip-hop nights’.

Chali 2na was a force to be reckoned with, throughout the evening. His presence and the effect he had on the audience, every time he opened his mouth, was phenomenal. As was his infectious smile whenever his band mates were doing their thing. The distinctive depth and power of unique his voice smashed through the sound system like an omnipotent rap robot.

After a bit of a teasing, the guys came back out onto the stage for a few more belters: ‘Verbal gunfight’, from Power in Numbers, was a high point, and they finished on a brilliantly satisfying high, with a big fat sing along to ‘What’s Golden’.

Happy hip-hop is ageing very well.

Philli B