Jungle at the Fox Theater Pomona

On April 12, 2024, the British dance group Jungle took the stage at the Fox Theater in Pomona, California, for an intimate warm-up show ahead of their highly anticipated Coachella festival appearance. The venue was packed with an energetic and diverse crowd of mostly 20-somethings, eagerly awaiting the band's performance.   The last time the group was in the LA area was at the Kia Forum last year so this show quickly sold out as many jumped at the chance to see them in a much smaller environment. 

From the moment Jungle kicked off the night with their infectious hit "Busy Earnin'," the audience was hooked. The seven-piece ensemble, complete with a brass section and backup singers, effortlessly blended funk, soul, and electronic elements, creating a sound that was both nostalgic and fresh. The vibe in the theater was reminiscent of the disco era's late-70s clubs, with the band's grooves and the audience's energy combining to create an atmosphere of pure, unadulterated joy and celebration.

The stage setup featured frontmen Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson perched behind tables with their synths, commanding the stage with their presence.  The setlist was a perfect mix of fan favorites and newer tracks, showcasing the band's evolution and growth since their self-titled debut album in 2014. Songs like "Candle Flame," "Dominoes," and "The Heat" had the crowd dancing and singing along, while the more recent "Heavy, California" and "Beat 54 (All Good Now)" from their latest album Volcano demonstrated their ability to craft irresistible grooves that can be described as a modern take on disco.  

One standout moment of the night was when vocalist Lydia Kitto stepped out front for several songs, injecting an extra dose of energy into the already electric atmosphere. Kitto, who co-wrote some of the songs on Jungle's most recent album, showcased her versatility by not only delivering powerful vocals but also playing the flute, adding a unique and enchanting element to the band's sound. Her commanding stage presence elevated tracks like "I've Been in Love",  "You Ain't No Celebrity” and the banger “Back on 74” drawing enthusiastic cheers from the crowd and highlighting the immense talent within the Jungle collective.

McFarland and Lloyd-Watson's vocals were on point, their harmonies blending seamlessly with the tight instrumentation. The energy they brought to the stage was palpable, with the duo frequently engaging with the audience and encouraging them to let loose and enjoy the moment.  

Other highlights of the night included the soulful "Time," the anthemic "Casio," and the funky "Coming Back," which had the entire theater moving in unison. The band's ability to maintain such a high level of energy throughout the 20-song set was impressive, a testament to their musicianship and stage presence.

The lighting and visuals displayed on the screen behind the band were meticulously designed, enhancing the overall experience and complementing the music perfectly, alternating from futuristic disco balls to pulsating boxes that framed the backing band on the multi-leveled stage.

As the night drew to a close, oversized beach balls were released to the delight of the crowd during “Don’t Play”.  Jungle treated the audience to an encore performance of "Keep Moving," ending the show on a high note and leaving the crowd yearning for more. The Bee Gee’s “You Should Be Dancing” serenaded the crowd over the PA as they left the Fox theater, a final nod to a genre that had its fingerprints all over the show.  If this warm-up show is any indication of what was to come at Coachella, festival-goers were in for an unforgettable experience.