I first heard of Jakubi in the fall of 2014, after they played a show at the ZBT fraternity house at the University of Texas at Austin. My brother Matt, a lively member of the fraternity, was sure to report back to me after the show with rave reviews. He described the band as incredible and as something I would absolutely love. Considering the kid knows me quite well and can definitely attest to my musical taste, which I like to think influenced his own, I sat down for a listen to their newest single “Couch Potato.” From my first listen, I was hooked. The hip-hop influences were obvious, but it was the natural funk vibes that set me off. The harmonies were subtle, but impressive, and the lead singer’s tone was impeccably rich and fresh. Not only was the hook memorable, but the laid back and rhythmically melodic verses also shined just as much. From that first listen, there wasn’t anything I would change about their sound, their vibe, or their attack. I became a huge fan, absorbing every little bit of the other three available tracks of theirs. With the news of an upcoming show at Baby’s All Right, there was no way I was missing it. The best part was that my brother was able to attend with me.
With my excitement at its highest and the promise of a great live show from my brother, the Melbourne, Australia-based Jakubi took the stage, bringing loads of energy and natural charisma in tow. They had the audience dancing from the first note, myself included. Because the group hasn’t released much music yet, it’s even more impressive that they sold out the venue, and were able to command the room so seamlessly. Also, because of the lack of released music, I didn’t know many of the songs, but truthfully, it didn’t matter; they were that good. Jakubi played several unreleased tunes that only further demonstrated the quality of talent in the group. I honestly enjoyed every tune they played, but some of the most memorable unreleased tracks included “Don’t Stop,” “Stop, Drop and Roll,” and “She Likes Me.” “She Likes Me” was a bit heavier than the others, from a rock ‘n’ roll standpoint, but they made sure to maintain the funk aspect of their sound, which tied it all together. The harmonies were fantastic, and they engaged the crowd to clap along to the big and booming song.
As for the songs I knew, they were all highly anticipated and well worth the wait. “Can’t Afford It All” was extremely energetic and had the crowd jumping up and down, as lead singer, Jerome used the talk box to elevate the funk to a whole new level. He used the talk box quite a lot during the show, but it was always completely warranted, as it’s a staple of the group’s sound. “Holiday” was so tight and controlled, and the smiles never left any of their faces the whole time. The chord progression in the beginning of the track was recognizable right away as the crowd sang the lyrics with Jerome “I met a girl, I met a girl on a holiday.” The exhilaration continued as Jerome said, “this song means a lot to the band,” as he sang the opening lyrics to one of my favorite song’s of theirs, “Feels Like Yesterday.” The song discusses Jerome and his brother Jacob’s upbringing. Jerome sang the lyrics, “Feels like yesterday when I was momma’s little baby. Days when me and Jacob played in the sunshine and the rain. Days when nothing fazed me, and everything entertained me. All our grades just started failing and now I’m crazy coz’ it only feels like yesterday.” The funky beat took off and the audience was dancing even more than before. The song continues to describe the struggles between their parents and how they coped when “Mary Jane just started blazing.” The song was a highlight of the night, and it was a lot of fun to see the track come alive on stage.
Another highlight was the performance of the first song I ever heard of theirs, “Couch Potato.” They played a bit of an understated version of the song, but it was cool and provided dimension to the set. The crowd went crazy for it, and it was fun to look around and see my brother, as well as all of these strangers around me, chanting the lyrics to the entire song. That must be a great moment for the band, as they look out to the crowd to see their fans from across the world singing along to every word with them. The band never ceased their energy, even during the more hip-hop-esque verses of “Couch Potato.” It was always about the funk and keeping the room upbeat and having a great time; and they most definitely succeeded in that feat. Listening to the whole audience at Baby’s All Right sing the lyrics, “I ain’t gonna dwell on nothin’, I ain’t gonna dwell on livin’ the life that they wanted me to live” was one of those moments you strive for as a live music fan and performer. There was total unity within the room, and it was awesome to be a part of. They closed the show by thanking the crowd for their support and saying, “If there’s any time to get loose, if there’s any time to get embarrassed, it’s during our last song!” They played their last song, which can only be described as an absolute funk takeover. Jakubi left it all on stage, delivering the show I was hoping for. Now, after hearing some of those unreleased tracks, I can eagerly say, with confidence, that I can’t wait to buy their next album!
Article: Alex Feigin