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Tour Diary: Jakubi’s US Adventure

From festivals alongside The Roots and Ben Harper to a guest appearance on Tom Green’s online talk show, here’s what went down on the Melbourne band’s recent trip around America.

Melbourne’s Jakubi have just returned from a massive two month long jaunt around the United States where, at a variety of festival stop-offs, they performed with The Roots, Ben Harper and Chance The Rapper. Along the way they picked up plenty of praise — Seattle Music News described the 5-piece as “adorably edgy” — as well securing an invitation to appear on Tom Green’s Webovision show after a chance meeting at an Los Angeles bar.

The group have compiled this gallery documenting their northern travels.

Their latest EP Holiday is out now via Create/Control. Check out the video for the lead single ‘Couch Potato’ here.

All words by Jesse Rehaut (drums).

Daytrotter is an online archive of amazing bands that have recorded live in this totally analog studio in Rock Island, Illinois. Walking upstairs into the old building which reminded me of a run down vacant public school was a bit weird, but once we reached the studio up the top we knew these guys mean business. They have some amazing old gear and they know how to use it well. There was only an hour to set up and record because they churn out three episodes a day. We pretty much just sat down and played five songs and left. Got a photo with the engineer and gave him a high five on the way out because he was a legend and then we were gone.

Basically we have the damn coolest booking agent known to man. He has a kid, his name is Max, and as a direct result of having damn cool parents is a damn cool kid. Here is Max on top of his dad’s shoulders and we are on stage. They flew out to Chicago to come and watch us play the Taste Of Randolph festival. Other acts on the bill were, The Dandy Warhols, Dinosaur Jr, Best Coast, and Lettuce.

Wakarusa is a major festival in Ozark, Arkansas. The Roots, Major Lazor, Ben Harper, and Chance The Rapper were headlining. Yeah, big festival. Two sets. Important. Definitely not the place to want to tear ligaments in your finger at. I did, playing soccer of all things. I was hoping for a speedy recovery but when i woke up in the morning my finger was actually twice the size. I took pain killers and played both sets with tears in my eyes. My finger didn’t get better for the rest of the trip. I kinda knew it wouldn’t. This is a picture of me being a sad sack thinking ‘How the hell am i going to play this second set?’

Brooklyn, New York City. Epic Records organised a car service for us to get around the city. We definitely weren’t expecting this pimped out Mercedes Sprinter with blacked out windows and a mafia looking driver. That’s me about to walk in for a round of high fives and a “What the fuck is going on!” conversation with the boys. We had a really busy day set out for us. A magazine interview over lunch at this swanky restaurant directly across from Central Park in Manhattan, a visit to the Shazam headquarters to get schooled on everything Shazam, then to RED for an filmed interview and acoustic set. This day gave us an insight into what touring bands do on a ‘day off’ in New York City.

We played four sets over two days at a weekend community festival in the dead center of Kansas. There were two stages, main and side, we split the sets up over the two. No one knew who we were in Kansas. The word spread throughout the festival about Jakubi and every performance we did was busier than the last. We went from a few hundred at our first and by our last set on the main stage we had over 2000 people. Our tour manager/engineer ran to the merch table halfway through our last song because there was already a line. By the time we had packed all our gear and got over there it was out of control. We spent over an hour taking photos, trying to get everyone’s autograph on everything we sold with only one pen, giving hugs, and sliding new fans into Jakubi t-shirts. It was so damn busy and overwhelming. We weren’t prepared for that type of thing but I can definitely see it becoming a regular thing in the future. It is very exciting.

This is a photo of me struggling with my damn finger, but still killing it I might add. You can tell how much pain I am in by my awkward sitting position, my shoulders tensed up to my ears, and the veins in my left hand going out of control because I’m holding onto that stick for dear life.

We always hug and high five after a show, especially if its an especially good show. In which case this was. Think Japanese gardens, sunset, and over a thousand unsuspecting people getting up for a boogie. Robi and I arm in arm, Jacob wiping off an amazing amount of sweat, Addz staring into the distance, and Jerome saying “Lets give them one more!”

We knew we would be going into a few radio stations during the tour but we had no idea how many. We have lost count but it has to be around 30 at least. That’s a lot when you have a show pretty much every day. Every radio station has either a performance space or a boardroom. We set up and all the staff come to listen. After that they all jump in for photos in front of the stations backdrop for their socials. They were always really excited to have us in because it breaks up their day at work. It’s pretty rad that we got to bring some happiness into people’s offices.

Jerome sharing a smile and most likely telling some amazingly funny story. This would be mid-soundcheck. Decked out in fresh Adidas from the Adidas HQ in Portland.

Summer Camp Music Festival was our first major festival for the trip. This is Jacob and I during soundcheck. We don’t really get to jam while we are on tour so soundcheck is the time to do it. Judging by the facials there is some fire cookin’!

Our manager Brian has an amazing house in Colorado. We stayed and hung out with him for three nights. By this stage we hadn’t had a day off in weeks, driving, radio, shows, and sleeping only for a few hours each night in different hotels. It was so good to recharge at Brian’s. He has a very impressive record collection and a great upright piano. Here is Jacob first thing out of bed in the morning laying down some tunes for the house.

Sun Studio, Memphis. This is where we got schooled on the origin of rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis’ first recording was done here and many of his others. We got to hold the microphone he sang into. Apparently when Bob Dylan visited the studio he just walked in and kissed the ground where Elvis would’ve stood and just walked out. They do free tours for bands that are on the road, you just show them a tour poster and you’re in. Definitely worth the trip.

Our manager, our booking agent, a few of our besties from Melbourne, and my superstar cousin Juzzy (Addzy’s brother) came to meet us in Chicago. Rooftop apartment BBQ and storytelling, and this amazing photo.

Electric Forest festival, Rothbury, MI. Our last show of the tour. This is the biggest and probably the best festival i have ever attended, over 40,000 people. The attention to detail was amazing and at night the whole place transforms into something that looks like a giant firefly. Our stage was directly in the middle of the forest, there were people all the way out into the trees. When the last song was over the tour was done. The crowd were chanting “ONE MORE SONG.. ONE MORE SONG”. We had run out of time so that was it. The end. Lots of hugs and a party that went well into the night was to follow and two days later we were back at home. What a journey!