Live Review: JEFF the Brotherhood @ Wrongbar, Toronto 06/21/2011

This review originally appeared at Exclaim.ca

Back in the ’90s, any band the major labels spat out seemed to get tagged as “the next Nirvana,” regardless if they sounded like the Seattle trio. Denials in the press were common, but most found the comparison tough to shake — just ask Bush or Silverchair.
Nashville duo JEFF the Brotherhood actually do sound like Nirvana, and they seemingly couldn’t care less. They even carry themselves with the same fuck-off indie swagger that Kurt and co. famously brought into the mainstream.

Openers White Fence and the Strange Boys did their best to win over the crowd with their individual takes on ’60s rock, but quite frankly, most of the efforts were forgotten once the brothers Orrall hit the stage. It was nice to see that the duo haven’t let their newly inked deal with Warner Bros. change their wardrobe, which resembled a one-stop shopping spree at Value Village.

The pair quickly established their presence, laying down some Sabbath-esque riffs. Guitarist Jake yelled into the mic while staring down the audience before launching into “Hey Friend.” This technically being the band’s album release party for their new disc¬†We Are the Champions, JEFF the Brotherhood’s set leaned heavily on the new record and their previous breakthrough¬†Heavy Days. Jake wandered into the crowd several times during the set without missing a note while the crowd cheered on, camera phones in tow. If the audience were unfamiliar with the new material, they certainly didn’t show it, as a mosh pit quickly opened up near the front of the stage and beer cans started flying.

By the show’s halfway mark, a pair dressed as blue and pink Easter bunnies had made their way into the fray, their heads quickly taken as trophies and tossed around in the crowd. Eventually one landed onstage, knocking Jake’s guitar cable loose. But as they did the entire rambunctious set, the brothers paid no mind to the screaming crowd; drummer Jamin didn’t miss a beat while Jake ditched the rabbit head and quickly plugged in.

Stone-faced throughout, JEFF the Brotherhood bid farewell with a slow and sloppy number before returning for one last tune. Whether their major label deal will bring chart success to the brothers remains to be seen, but it’s clearly done nothing to blunt their formidable live show on which their reputation is based.

“Bone Jam”

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