If you’re an alternative music fan from Nashville, there’s a high probability that you know and love JEFF the Brotherhood. And if you aren’t familiar- take note.
Brothers Jake and Jamin Orall started JEFF the Brotherhood when they were teenagers in high school. Since their formation twenty years ago, the band has released countless albums and toured tirelessly across the country, and have collaborated with artists such as Ty Segall, Best Coast, and Screaming Females, to name a few.
The duo has their own record label, Infinity Cat, which gave local Nashville bands like Mom and Dad, Music Band, Diarrhea Planet, and Daddy Issues a respected platform to record and distribute their music.
The duo has crafted a unique, yet ever evolving sound throughout their career. They manage to fuse the hard, punk energy of Black Flag, the trippy, psychedelic, lava lamp-vibe of Can, and the wall of fuzzed out guitars of Smashing Pumpkins, which are all held together by the poppy, accessible, and down-to-earth nature of Weezer. Despite the influence of all these musical elements, however, the brothers always manage to weave catchy, ear-worm hooks and melodies into their often heavy jams.
After touring in support of their 2018 LP Magick Songs, the brothers went on hiatus, which found them no longer playing local shows, touring, or releasing music. For a while, many fans thought the group would never be heard from again. That was until April of 2021, when the duo released their EP, Garbage Man, which the group noted would be Infinity Cat’s last new release. It came as even more of a surprise when it was revealed JEFF would be playing a show at the much beloved Nashville club Exit/In.
Since its opening in 1971, Exit/In has proven itself to be a bastion for both local bands and major national acts touring through Nashville. Unfortunately, only a few months into the 2020 quarantine, it was announced that Exit/In would be bought and likely closed down by a major hotel-development company. Exit/In received an outpouring of support of Nashville’s music fans and fellow venues. It was soon revealed that the development company would not shut the venue down, and would instead work to have the venue rightfully recognized as a historic site.
These circumstances made the newly-announced JEFF show all the more special to those who have grown up with the band and Exit/In. With opening performances from local alternative band Snooper and Kent Osbourne, a now Los Angeles-based rapper who had previously lived and cut his teeth in Nashville, the show was guaranteed to be a rager, as well as a much anticipated homecoming for Nashville’s favorite hometown heroes.
Despite being a relatively under-promoted show, people packed themselves into the venue’s dark walls. The energy in the room was palpable and electric.
The squealing feedback spouting out of Jake’s stack of speakers, fueled by his trusty Sunn Beta Lead, signaled the duo’s entrance. What followed was a non-stop onslaught of fan favorite tunes spanning their entire career.
The brothers opened up the show with “Voyage into Dreams,” the first song off of their 2015 record Wasted on the Dream. Jake unleashed his signature molten riffs while Jamin held it down with his bludgeoning yet groovy drums.
Soon after, they played “Hey Friend,” the quirky and catchy first track from their 2011 record We Are The Champions, which has become a staple of most shows the group plays in Nashville. They then played “Diamond Way,” which featured Jamin’s relentless, punishing drums trudging aggressively through the dense flurry of Jake’s fuzzy riffs.
Later in the show, the duo played “Leave Me Out” from their 2012, Dan Auerbach produced and aptly named LP Hypnotic Nights, which inspired leaping crowd surfing and aggressive moshing.
They jammed on several songs from their 2016 LP Zone, including “Bad” and “Roachin,” which both have a noticeable edge compared to songs from their other albums.
The group also played material from their early catalog, such as “I Don’t Need Your Tast-T,” a trancey garage rock anthem from their 2006 record Castle Storm, which was a welcome surprise for those who have been following them since their early days.
The duo closed out the show with “Farewell to the Sun” from Magick Songs. The blistering track features a droning, psychedelic slow jam that is only interrupted by bursts of unforgivingly fuzzy power chords. It ended with a trippy, acid rock guitar solo, with Jake’s guitar being filtered through a Wah pedal and mind-bending echo effect.
The show was everything you could want a JEFF show to be. It had crowd surfing, loud distorted guitars, and unforgettable sing-along moments. But most importantly, you felt the tight, supportive community which the brothers have worked so hard to create within the local Nashville music scene since their very beginning. The night left Nashville’s alternative music scene hopeful to hear and see more creative output from the eclectic brothers, in whatever capacity that might be.