Australia’s Midnight Juggernauts’ are part of the growing global contingent of bands that embrace elements of rock and electronic music. But the key to their success is their impressive songwriting chops. Though they’re chart heroes back at home and have outsold Mariah and Madonna, the trio, who last toured in America opening for with Justice, are still a new proposition in the States. But judging by the turnout at Le Poisson Rouge (Bumblebeez were also on the bill), that’s about to change.
After an opening DJ set from hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash, who cleverly dropped mainstream rock favorites by Nirvana and The White Stripes before he sauntered into a lackluster mishmash of schlocky hip-hop (why does every DJ want to hear some noise?), Midnight Juggernauts opened with their feisty “So Many Frequencies” from their debut album, Dystopia. The trio—keyboardist/singer Vincenzi Vendetta, bassist/guitarist Andrew Juggernaut and drummer Daniel Stricker—are a tenacious proposition. They’re loud, and they know how to rock. As Vandetta and Juggernaut prowl the stage and frequently trade instruments, they stomp around with the grace of a band who’ve been at it for much longer. Stricker pounds his skins with the audacious thump in the vein of John Bonham. When part of his drum kit fell apart during a song, he stood up and kept playing as a tech made a quick repair.
By the time the trio launched into “Tombstone,” they were in the zone. A hootchie jumped up on stage and started to gyrate next to Vendetta (who had donned a bass), but it didn’t even phase them. Did he even notice here? By the next song, the tall, lanky Vendetta returned the favor, bending down into crowd and pressing the flesh while he multi-tasked. Where Midnight Juggernauts were grossly overshadowed on their last Stateside outing with Justice, they’ve come into their own and proved they’re ready for the headlining slot.
Words & images: Darren Ressler