If you’re someone who loves to stand in the audience and feel like part of the show, if you love a band to challenge you to move and dance, then it’s time you got along to a Jape Squad show.
“I always like to get in the audience’s face a little bit, try and drag them into the joy and the energy which is present in all Jape Squad shows,” says Woody, Jape Squad’s lead vocalist. “With Jape Squad we really like to take the audience on the musical ride. We have all been playing music for a long time and nothing gives us more pleasure than the enjoyment of listening to music and playing music, and because we enjoy it so much we like to take the audience on that ride.
“So audience members can expect some interaction, they can expect some pretty punchy rock and roll tunes that will make them want to get up and dance, and they can expect a pretty awesome display of fine musicianship.”
Jape Squad will go to the extremes to make sure that their audiences are enjoying themselves, so much so that Woody has a tendency to join the audience and personally make sure everyone is having a good time.
“Those guys are kind of stuck on stage and I’m not,” Woody says of the rest of Jape Squad. “It’s all about making sure that the audience is feeling what we are feeling; that they are part of what we are doing and that everyone’s along for a party.”
Jape Squad have been engaging audiences for more than a decade now, with each passing year growing tighter and playing smarter.
“I think we have just gotten better at knowing what our strengths are … The thing we have learnt, even in the last few years of playing together, is knowing exactly what the strengths of each individual Jape Squad member are and how to best play to them.” And it’s this knowledge of each other’s playing ability that allows for spontaneity and improvisation at all Jape Squad shows, building their reputation as a band whose shows are always unique.
“I think Jape Squad now has a certain brand, it has a certain following or a certain renowned amongst the music community, and people know when it comes to a Jape Squad show that they are always going to see something different and they are always going to see something of quality,” says Woody.
“Jape Squad shows are never the same; we don’t know what we are going to do from one show to the next. We’ve got a setlist like any band, but within those songs there is a lot of room to move and to improvise and to feel out the music the way we are feeling it at that time. We would have gotten bored a long time ago if we didn’t allow ourselves that freedom to experiment and express what we are feeling in the moment.
“Jape Squad gigs are just like a party. You can do a certain amount of planning and you can do a certain amount of organisation but at the end of the day the beauty in it is the randomness.”
When&Where: The Bridge, Castlemaine – May 3 & Cherry Bar, Melbourne – May 11
Written by Zach Broadhurst