Project Description

AJJ – Andrew Jackson Jihad

Ten Year Anniversary Tour

The Gasometer Hotel

8th October (Live Review)

Reviewer – Ashley Flockhart

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AJJ

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Andrew Jackson Jihad. This makes up an acronym title of a punk folk band. From now on; it also may mean that their music can change your life.

I was flamboyant enough to suggest my to someone I met that night that if Coldplay is hymnal, than AJJ is the Christian Rock Band that are unofficial thoughtful Christians. A Johnny Cash collective for people who like colour in the lyrics.

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AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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This collective has welcomed guests as effortlessly as their ability to illustrate humility in songs such as White Worms, Small Red Boy and Goodbye Oh Goodbye.

Last week I saw them at the Gasometer pub in Melbourne. Collingwood the suburb is lurid at night. Swathed under morphed brick drinking holes that are hyper-illuminated when you’re drunk.

Picture a stage you look down on from above and behind. A balcony where you observe the crowd jubilantly sway and cry, shaking their shoulders to the songs.

I wasn’t profoundly moved by the experience, but this isn’t to denote a negative reaction to passionate musicians.

Sean Bonnette, the lead singer and guitarist skates. He has kind eyes, and for crying out loud, he doesn’t look like he skates, but he does! It’s his group that teaches you that looks are thin, and the personality is infinite.

 

AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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I wish you guys would play for the rest of my life!” Some guy screamed into the front half an hour into their segment. He definitely forgot where he was.

Some concerts draw your attention into a funnel until you forget where you are. Not because of the people you are with, but because their songs demand self-evaluation and assessment. AJJ belongs to this category.

I fucking love you!” This guy definitely forgot where he was. It’s a generic thing to yell to a much loved band.

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A belt of us concert-goers sacrificed our personal spaces and nestled against the back wall and the stair bannisters like a belt of penguins. We all gazed up. I suspect some of us closed our eyes.

That stayed with me.

Bonnette had looked at the fan, not down at him. Not as if they were best friends, but nor was it a musician to a fan. It was the visual spectacle of the most casual connection that is established through a smile.

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AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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This I believe, is their ambition in life, to be better people than good musicians. While their compassion is original and not without some biting cynicism about the hypocrisies of religion and ordinary madness.

It was a sincere politeness that is sadly becoming old-fashioned. Utmost easy going-ness.

Thank-you so much man,” Bonnette said. “Hmm … this song?

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AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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All at once they jiggled about on the low platform and jovially explain to us “holy fuck you’re bleeding … rejoice despite the fact that this world will tear you to shreds.”

They convert sensitive topics into commentaries, encouraging crowds affected by suicide, family breakdowns, depression, anxiety or are just simply angry, to be communal and accept that problems are just shit.

… I could go off the deep end, I could kill all my best friends … but I’ve got an angry heart.”

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AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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Their lyrics are balanced and forthright, not adding another word for extra humour.

Bonnette loads an easily forgettable flannelette shirt with awe as he sings about social anxiety, looks, superficiality, self-perception – forcing us to ask ourselves; do we try too hard to impress others? Can we actually learn to just be, and not be for someone else?

In fact the whole band look as if they woke up, threw on clothes somewhere from the floor, and moved on with their day. That’s the beautiful unconventional nature of this group of musicians. You can feel it when they walk on stage. They don’t drag out the applause either. They are there to have fun. Get to it, they are thinking.

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AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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AJJ have thirteen shows left on their international tour, ending on 11/12/2017. Most of their shows are sold out. However if you can finagle a ticket somehow, it’s worth it. Even if you go on your own.

It’s ultimately an amalgamation of amazing electric acoustic guitar riffs that reek in your ears of cutely flawed rustiness.

There is a certain reminiscence of My Chemical Romance in their songs. They weave in trumpet-like sounds, and sudden rises in vocal pitch that are unaccounted for except by your obligation to listen to the lyrics, not jump around and let your hair down to them.

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AJJ

AJJ . Photo – Sammy Gibson

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If there is a chief criticism I have in this review, it is about myself. I got drunk too quickly. I don’t remember a quarter of their performance.

AJJ – 2017

Running until December 11

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AMNPLIFY – DB

 

My nickname is “The Amnplifier”. Why? Because around here my focus is on being a conduit for providing greater outcomes that people come here for. My day to day “work” is living in the moment, and I love helping others concentrate on finding their connection to themselves through their experiences.

Why start a music environment? The truth is I love music, I love writing, and I love life. I work with musicians every day, and I feel certain that I will be until they put me in the ground. I have been managing people in businesses of some sort for over thirty five years so along the way I have developed some “wisdom” from my regular and constant “observations”.

Amnplify your experience. That is what we want you to do here, and if you want to let me know why you do, or don’t, shoot me a message on Facebook.

Hope you enjoy yourself here and find something that hits you somewhere.