It is rare to see a genuinely inventive live act in 2019, where the show is both quintessentially rock and roll and concurrently musically perplexing, but lo and behold, Los Angeles art rock up-and-comers Jubilo Drive’s album release show on February 22nd was just that. Notwithstanding the fact that Jubilo fans had only a few hours to get acquainted with the act’s debut album LATE NIGHT EARLY MORNING, whose incredibly cool cover evokes the poster for TRAINSPOTTING or LESS THAN ZERO, the band sold out Weber Rations, a uniquely mature and well-kempt DIY art gallery and show space in East Los Angeles. Christmas lights flickered and fog machines cloaked the audience in vapor as the band ripped through their perplexingly dissonant breed of hard-rocking indie pop.
Photo by Phillip Souillier
Rhythm guitarist and lead singer Jordan Kleinman stole the show, jumping around with an enthusiasm that evoked John Maus’ erratic onstage nihilism and David Byrne’s rigid showiness. Though Kleinman’s exceptionally mastered and endearing rock moves may be straight out of GUITAR HERO 5, his songwriting is still eccentric and complex. Keyboardist Aaron Shadrow also injects verve, modishness, and electrifying keyboard playing into the act’s sound. Though he looks more like Porches than the quintessential LA rock musician, Shadrow’s vigorous synth playing and headbanging wouldn’t have been out of place had he been sharing the stage with a 1987 Guns N’ Roses. Ultimately there are two types of musicians in Jubilo Drive: musicians who play with the confidence of a seasoned session musician and musicians who play with the confidence of a rock legend. Jubilo Drive is the elusive act with intricate recordings that plays like a well-oiled machine on stage.
The set consisted of mostly LATE NIGHT EARLY MORNING cuts, but also featured a few unreleased tracks. It’s shocking to hear a band debut new material at a release party. Having nearly half-an-hour of original material recorded is formidable enough of a feat, so I was astounded and admittedly slightly intimidated by the band’s ability to write and rehearse new material in advance of a full-length release.
LATE NIGHT EARLY MORNING’s immediate momentum is a promising sign for Jubilo Drive. If the band continues to push its inventive and amusing showmanship, it won’t be long until they are one of the biggest live acts in the Los Angeles rock scene. Jubilo Drive’s live show is how I imagine the experience of attending a Space Race-era Eastern European punk concert. In a city whose music scene fancies costuming and retro-familiarity as much as it does technicality and exuberance, Jubilo Drive are leagues ahead of many of their peers.
Photo by Phillip Souillier