- Live Review
- 20 Oct 22
Infectious earworms, thumping beats and party vibes took over Whelan's Upstairs last night. Why? Dublin electronic-pop trio Just Wondering were in the house - and had the energised crowd in the palms of their hands.
The three-piece launched into their 12-song strong set with their unreleased track '3000', a surprising choice, but it worked. Wale Akande, Jack O’Shaughnessy and Adam Redmond gave a hundred percent from the first second to the last, impressing fans with their unique tunes that skillfully marry modern synth pop melodies, soul vibes, guitar licks, electronic textures and processed vocals.
With all the infectious energy sweeping over the Whelan's crowd, one might be swayed to stop paying attention to the lyrics and get lost in the party atmosphere. However, Just Wondering process raw and honest emotions in their songs, that may just pull on your heartstrings if you let them.
"I’ll tell you what I’m thinking soon as I am sure about it, keep finding out when it’s too late to do a thing about it," they admit on their latest single 'Just My Luck', which - as the title suggests - talks about "being unlucky and stuff".
Following on from their 2021 debut mixtape Float Over, and ultra-catchy single 'idk, maybe' that was released earlier this year, 'Just My Luck' is about a selfish person who won't take responsibility for their actions. "It may or may not be based off real experiences... This one is just a lot of different versions of the useless unhelpful ways people act and blame the consequences on others - or their luck - hence the title," the band explained in an interview with When The Horn Blows.
And the crowd loved it. They danced wildly, sang along, flung their arms up in the air, and cheered whenever they got the chance. "We wouldn't be Just wondering without you," Jack O’Shaughnessy smiled, and got a very audible "We love you" in response.
Another standout moment of the night was the aforementioned 'idk, maybe', which may just be the definition of a "real bop". With the stage engulfed in green and pink lights, and strobe lights dancing over the audience, it was easy to see just how connected the trio were with their fans.
"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, maybe, that's okay, that's okay, that's okay, baby," everyone sung passionately, all ten times. They had no excuse that they couldn't remember the lyrics, but they didn't need one anyway.
'idk, maybe' reflects on embracing the liminal space between desire and fulfilment, while holding on to optimism, as the band explained: "It’s about really wanting something or someone that you don’t have right now, and finding genuine peace and happiness in the uncertainty. We wrote it in the middle of a summer just before we went to a party with our mates and to us... it sounds like it."
Just Wondering absolutely lived up to their reputation for invigorating earworms rooted in freedom of expression, experimentation, and wholehearted camaraderie. They hugged on stage, had more than one dance-off, took photos of the crowd with their fans' phones, and lifted beer bottles up in the air to emphasise just how excited they were to be there.
"This next one is one of my favourites," Adam Redmond announced just before their unreleased high-energy track 'Someday'. Also part of the evening were 'Drive', they most-streamed single, 'F**k That', 'Beach Me', and the unreleased bangers 'Dundrum' and 'Long Sunny Weekend', among others.
The trio, who were casually dressed in T-shirts and trainers, ended their set with a bang. "I was slower cause all I had were bicycles, and cause I know you meant it," they launched into their laidback single 'Bicycles', which is all about how moving slowly allows time to appreciate life.
It truly was a fitting end to the evening, given that the crowd seemed to have very much appreciated Just Wondering's energetic, fun and overall first-class performance. Save to say that being told that we were "so much better than the UK", where the band toured during the summer, didn't hurt either.
Just Wondering featured on the soundtrack for the BBC Three/Hulu TV adaptation of Conversations With Friends, based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel, which was the follow-up to acclaimed series Normal People.
The trio were supported by breakout Dublin singer-songwriter Franki at last night's gig at Whelan's Upstairs.
Get tickets to Just Wondering's upcoming show at Voodoo, Belfast on Saturday, October 22, here.
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