All day the sky was heavy with grey clouds, teasing Melbourne with the showers that would inevitably come. For the Zoo Twilights crowd (who have before been stung with cancellations) it was just a matter of hoping the wet would hold off and being prepared for when it would break. It was clear as I visited the lions and meerkats but I felt a few spots as I made my way out of the reptile house and watched on as a wave of ponchos, jackets and umbrellas suddenly appeared on the lawn in front of me. Clearly the crowd have done this before; it is Melbourne after all.

Right on 7, Glenn Richards strummed the opening notes of his set with no fanfare; the unique voice of the Augie March frontman all that was needed to lull the audience – mostly – into a stunned silence. “G’day,” he says as he finishes his first song, before telling us that he left a beautiful day in Hobart to play tonight. The rain seemed to get heavier just to spite him at this point. A few songs in it seemed as though he was struggling to keep the attention of the dampened crowd and stopped mid song to play ‘One Crowded Hour,’ probably the biggest song of his career and sadly the first track that I recognised beyond a subtly familiar melody, before leaving the stage.

Between sets, the Zoo played some videos about the Eastern Barred Bandicoot – the animal the Zoo Twilights series are supporting – but what I heard instead was a group of guys standing near me demonstrating the show’s demographic clearly, reminiscing on their favourite Bodyjar and Area-7 gigs of old while enjoying their Fat Yak tinnies, the conversation breaking as they all took a gulp in unison, before one guy proclaimed he was “fucking shattered” at the loss of a Limp Bizkit album.

The crowd cheered but remained seated as Jebediah took the stage, something frontman Kevin Mitchell observed instantly joking that “I don’t think we’ve played a gig with this much hummus in the crowd.” The four-piece then kicked into ‘Animal’ and I, along with the rest of the punters, were mentally transported to the end of the last millennium. Having personally (and shamefully) forgotten a lot of Jebediah’s music, it was impressive to me that, 17 years on, the lead single from their sophomore album could have such an immediate effect on me to the point where I was singing along by the end of the first chorus.

Second song ‘N.D.C’ didn’t seem to have the same effect but ‘Jerks of Attention,’ which Kevin dedicated to his daughter who was seeing her first Jebediah concert before assuring her that the activities in the lyrics were “in Daddy’s past,” had people dancing up the front – albeit timidly – as they undoubtedly recalled their own teenage experiences getting stoned. In my case, given I was 9 when the single was released, it just reminded me of my brother introducing me to Triple J all those years ago and while Jebediah may not be on high rotation in my collection anymore, they were a gateway to so much of what I listen to now and a clear influence on many current Aussie bands.

The rest of the set was a great mix of the early Jeb tracks along with material from Kosciuzko, their 2011 comeback record, and while I heard Kev telling a fan they wouldn’t hear the song they were requesting, it wasn’t either of the tracks I guessed: with ‘Harpoon’ coming in late in the set and ‘Teflon’ closing the night as their third encore song. What was great to see more than anything though was that 20 years on from being four young upstarts from Perth, Jebediah still have an amazing energy and chemistry on stage. The music was great; the atmosphere of the zoo was, as always, amazing; and the rain was never a concern. And, to be honest, I’m fucking shattered that I’ve lost my copy of Of Someday Shambles that I bought when I was 12.

Wes Fahey

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