Midnight Juggernauts finished up their North American tour by taking New York by storm in an exciting and energetic show.The Melbourne, Australia three-piece first made waves in the States last year when they opened up for Justice, but now they’re breaking out all on their own. On May 9th at New York’s Bowery Ballroom (QRO venue review) the group ended their two-week tour, promoting the late May American release of their debut LP, Dystopia, on Astralwerks (QRO review). And from the Bowery show, Midnight Juggernauts look set to jump to the front of the burgeoning indietronic dance-rock queue.
The fact that Midnight Juggernauts opened for Justice, and are on Astralwerks, does tell you a lot about the band’s sound. The Francophile disco-dance with rock ‘n roll energy is certainly reminiscent of Gaullists Justice and Astralwerks acts like VHS or Beta (QRO spotlight on) – some of the oddly talk-sing vocals even bring to mind recent Astralwerks sign, The B-52s (QRO album review). But that isn’t to dismiss or pigeonhole the Juggernauts, as live, they turn up the excitement an extra notch (or, as has been said, “They do live what Justice only does on record”).
The band unsurprisingly opened with Dystopia’s short instrumental “Intro”, but really lit the fire with following single, “Road to Recovery”. Virtually all of the tracks from Dystopia were amped up live, with the ‘in the know’ New York crowd certainly familiar with them, despite their ‘yet to be released in U.S.’ status. “Recovery” started the set on a dance-craze, something the driving, monotone, but not monochrome, “Ending of an Era” kept up. What was really amazing was that Midnight Juggernauts never really let up, continuing their power through the high and effective “Shadows”, tongue-in-cheek press of “So Many Frequencies”, and live favorite, “45 & Rising” (not on Dystopia, but two live versions are on the bonus EP).
But Midnight Juggernauts also threw down a couple of new songs, as well as Dystopia’s uplifting and grand “Twenty Thousand Leagues”. However, that piece was overshadowed a bit, as it was followed by maybe Dystopia’s best piece, “Tombstone”. That single-worthy expansive disco-tech dance provided the night’s highpoint, and carried the energy on “Into the Galaxy”. Things got even wilder at the end of the evening, as singer/guitarist Andrew Juggernaut and singer/keyboardist Vincent Juggernaut switched up instruments, with Vincent climbing on drummer Daniel Stricker’s bass drum for rock ‘n roll-style leaps, Stricker played drums in the crowd, and someone (a friend, or possibly a roadie) jumped in on keys.
Though they didn’t hit up Dystopia’s great “Nine Lives”, no one could say Midnight Juggernauts didn’t rock Bowery. The three Aussies have scouted America, and look set to stake their claim once Dystopia drops on May 27th. The international, near-future disco-dancetronica-rock is going even more global…