Introducing Philadelphia Grand Jury
Words by Brendan Monteiro
If your on the search for the obscure and original than look no more because Philadelphia Grand Jury is just the band for you. Hailing from down under, Philadelphia Grand Jury’s story is that of two friends, and this is where the madness begins! On one hand you have Berkfinger (Simon Berckelman) who helms the vocals and guitars and on the other end of this whacky spectrum is MC Bad Genius (Joel Beeson) who is in charge of Bass, Keys and guitar. The combination of Berkfinger and MC Bad Genius is unlike anything you would of heard before, with a arsenal of spazzed out melodies and infectious beats these guys can have you dancing in a matter of nano-seconds. The Philly Jays as they are know by their loving and adorning fans originally started out as a duo but have now moved in to the trio category with the incorporation of Calvin Welch behind their once very lonely drum set.
So before we delve into their music let’s try delve into the two masterminds of PGJ, unfortunately the fact is not much is know. According to Berkfinger’s myspace and other sources, he collects Elvis memorobilia while MC Bad Genius apparently works for a Child Protection Agency. From this little bit of info you get the feel of what they are all about, they have warmth and compassion with an abundance of quirky habits. These can be further seen in The Philly’s choice of music video’s where quirky yet warm is the standard.
There is always a stigma with country’s, other than America and the UK, that they are years behind but in recent months Australia has been a shining torch for new music and PGJ are one of the brightest new bands of the lot. Combining elements of pop, funk, jazz, indie and a punk D.I.Y attitude The Philly Jays have come up with a sound that is fresh and uplifting. Tone is a big part of The Philly’s sound and they have it nailed. Their recorded work has some really amazing organic sounding tones and these tones give them a really polished sound yet at the same time a antique and vintage feel unlike any other band. This might be down to the fact that Berkfinger is a sound engineer at Big Jesus Burger Studios and has worked on projects that include the likes of Silverchair, Temper Trap, Dappled Cities and Wolfmother. With such an impressive CV it’s no wonder that Berkfinger and PGJ came up with such an outstanding debut release with only a 3000$ budget to play around with. Hope Is For Hopers was released on the bands own label Normal People Making Hits in conjuncution with Boomtown Records. It’s an album that will go under the radar for a lot of people but if your lucky enough to own a copy you will wonder how you ever survived without it in the first place.
Philadelphia Grand Jury head out to the UK in May so be sure not to miss them and as a teaser check out the video for the song ‘The Good News’ and a cover of Jay Z’s ’99 Problems’ or check out their myspace for tour details and more. There is also a free E.P available on the official site!