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Jukebox The Ghost – Bowery Ballroom, New York – 22/03/16 | Live Review

Time to spin that wheel!

Source: Sara Feigin

Source: Sara Feigin

The Bowery Ballroom, a venue on the lower East Side of Manhattan, is buzzing. Jukebox The Ghost, are set to take the stage any moment now. Hailing from Washington DC, Jukebox The Ghost have been writing music together since 2003 but have only been touring under the name Jukebox The Ghost since early 2008. As the band takes the stage, the crowd greets them with screams and a raucous round of applause emits from the crowd. The girl’s standing closest to the stage have hand made signs that they hold up until vocalist and guitarist Tommy Siegel acknowledges them, which induces a squealing fit from the girls. After their first couple of songs, front-man, singer and pianist, Ben Thornewill, addresses the crowd with a joke about how the crowd looks great, but if it were a Friday night instead of a Tuesday night the crowd would look awful. Thornewill is a bit of a comedian, and continues cracking jokes and saying somewhat ridiculous things throughout the night.

The band has an amazing energy on the stage, and the crowd is eating it up. With Siegel and Thornewill switching singing duties every few songs, the night never gets dull. Halfway through the set a girl dressed like a game show prize girl enters the stage with a song roulette wheel. Every night on this tour they spin a wheel to find out what song they’re going to play next. The first song selected is ‘The Sun’ that Siegel informs us they haven’t played in over a month and a half. Thornewill tells the crowd the song has too many notes in it, and that’s why they try to avoid playing it. But the crowd doesn’t care how many notes are in the song; they’re just excited to hear a song played live that they haven’t heard in ages.

Source: Sara Feigin

Source: Sara Feigin

This is followed by ‘Hold It In (Supreme)’; meaning that they will play ‘Hold It In’ but with each member playing an instrument they wouldn’t usually play. Thronewill takes on the drums, Siegel the piano and drummer Jesse Kristin takes on the guitar. Thornewill makes a comment about how they usually don’t make it past the bridge of the song when they do this because it just is too painful for the crowd to listen to, but this evening the band makes it through the whole song with only a few mishaps. The rest of the set goes just as positively, the band feeding off the crowd’s energy just as much as the crowd feeds off the bands energy.

The set was full of high points, two of which were Queen cover songs. After the game of song roulette, Thornewill begins to play the well known opening riff that is ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen and David Bowie. The crowd starts to make ‘Ice Ice Baby’ jokes loud enough that Thornewill responds to the heckling, “no we’re not playing that one! We’re playing a masterpiece”. The cover was amazing, and the few parents that had been standing by the wall most of the night, have inched into the crowd to enjoy a song of their youth with their children. It’s a beautiful moment to witness and to be a part of.  The second Queen cover was Bicycle Ride’ which Jukebox played during their three song encore. While this song was a strong point, the crowd didn’t respond to it as well as they did to Under Pressure; if anything they seemed relieved when they started their last song, an original, ‘Adulthood’.

Jukebox The Ghost is a band unlike any other. Their music feels timeless. The inclusion of the two cover songs made it even more clear that this band can do anything. Their fans are devoted to them and that is always an amazing thing to witness. With a jam-packed set of fan favourites, covers and obscure singles, everybody in the crowd left happy. Jukebox The Ghost are a band anybody can easily fall in love with when they see them live, and we left feeling the love for them as well.

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Source: Sara Feigin

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