He’s heavy, he’s my brother

GOOD TIMES: Jake, left and Jamin Orrall are thinkin’ about stuff. Maybe.
GOOD TIMES: Jake, left and Jamin Orrall are thinkin’ about stuff. Maybe.

Jeff the Brotherhood will never be remembered for their philosophy. But with over 400 huge shows in the last two years alone, their own record label in hometown Nashville, and their latest album being produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, they've already left an enviable rock'n'roll legacy.

They're a two-piece rock band, playing in what's now become a classic configuration of drums and guitar, sans bass, as pioneered by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Black Keys and White Stripes. Their latest hit single and video, Sixpack, shows people messing around in boats, drinking beer and having a good time. Whether all this has some deeper meaning, Jamin isn't sure.

"If there is I don't know what it is," Jamin chuckles. "We're just a good-time band, we like to have a laugh."

They're out in Australia to play the Big Day Out, along with a run of side shows, the Great Northern in Byron Bay among them. They're the perfect summer festival rock'n'roll act, playing fuzzed-out, singalong anthems that sound like they're straight out of the Nineties. Glimpses of Nirvana, Weezer, even Urge Overkill can be heard in their torrents of guitar and stoneresque vocals.

Not that career stoners would last at their frenetic pace. Their label, Infinity Cat Recordings, was named Nashville's best in 2010. They started the band being barely able to play instruments. Jake decided to pick up guitar, but that it had too many strings. So he took half of them off and created a new sound, by drenching it in bass-heavy tones and creating a tsunami of distortion that would intimidate a black-metal posse. They named the band after their brother Jeff, who had passed away but would presumably otherwise be playing bass. Or theremin.

Meanwhile, they got on with the business of conquering the rock world, playing alongside the best in the business at all the de rigueur rock festivals and clubs the US has to offer. It's a pleasant alternative to not playing rock.

"We like not having to work normal jobs, not having to work at a grocery store," Jamin agreed.

It's a job with interesting benefits, enabling them to tour with such bands as label-mates Diarrhea Planet and have elaborate practical jones played upon them.

"Last time we came to Australia a friend met us at the airport and took us to a park and made us run laps. He said it would make us feel better and stop jet-lag. Then he was trying to make us bounce some odd-shaped ball. He said it was from Sri Lanka and we had to run around after it. Then he fell over laughing."

On that tour the Brotherhood made a huge impact at Meredith Music Festival and their pub and club shows. Enough to have the Big Day Out bookers pack them into five straight shows across the country. And drag them out of a Northern Hemisphere winter to play in our hottest summer ever.

Their predilection for touring with bands with unusual names has been confirmed with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard joining them across Australia. And with a new album, Hypnotic Nights, they're bound to make some big inroads musically. If not philosophically.

Jeff The Brotherhood play the Great Northern, Byron Bay, this Saturday, January 19 at 9pm. Tickets are $20 + bf at oztix.com.au.

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