Indie-rock band Spacey Jane consecrated San Francisco’s The Chapel on Oct. 29 with a musical performance that bordered on the spiritual.
To prep the costumed audience, opener and New Jersey native Joe P injected the crowd with a coolness one could only find in the chillest of house parties (in a good way), a feeling that was amplified by the intimacy of the venue and the wall-to-wall sea of bouncing bodies.
Lifting one’s gaze to the ceiling of the venue, one is greeted with magnificent arched, vaulted ceilings. The venue’s former life as a legitimate chapel is undeniable in its grand architecture and pleasant wooden fixtures, but now the pews have been replaced by three bars and a stage that feels close even when one stands in the very back of the audience.
As if to signify the musical indoctrination the crowd was to face, a tech hand dressed in priest-esque attire anointed the audience members with flecks of “holy water.” Blessed and bursting with anticipation, the swelling crowd was well-prepared to partake in their Spacey Jane communion.
Playing their first ever show in San Francisco, the beloved Australian band beamed on stage, manifesting through a pillowy cloud of fog and purple lights. On cue with the audience’s bottled-up screams of anticipation, a dynamic instrumental beat filled the intimate venue as lead singer and guitarist Caleb Harper, drummer and manager Kieran Lama, bassist and background vocalist Peppa Lane and guitarist Ashton Hardman Le-Cornu strummed the first chords of “Sitting Up” — “How’s that for an intro?”
Adhering to spooky season requirements, each band member sported their own Halloween costume: Hardman Le-Cornu as a non-stop dancing banana, Lama a sweaty Viking, Lane a mooing cow and, cheekiest of all, Harper adorned in a bloodstained hospital patient’s robes with an open back that left little to the imagination. If viewers were to take one visual away from the show, it would have to be the image of a head-banging banana sliding across the stage while a mooing crowd cheered him on.
Aside from an overwhelming outpour of love from the audience in the form of shouted lyrics and dancing, present within the crowd was a sense of exaltation made possible by the ethereal beauty of the lights that flooded the venue. While strobe lights are most commonly found in the grimiest of EDM dungeons, they took on an unexpected effervescence when paired with the gentle sway of “Bothers Me.” The venue seemed to swallow the lights and gift them back to the audience, and, when paired with Spacey Jane’s well-balanced setlist, translated the streams of purple and blue into a shared religious experience.
Instantaneously, the unspoken wall of separation between performers and audience members fell away, creating an atmosphere that felt uniquely personal and familiar. After sharing a memorable moment with the audience singing the chorus of “It’s Been A Long Day,” Lama turned his sights back on Hardman Le-Cornu, quipping that he’s “trying to unpeel that banana later if you know what I’m saying,” and eliciting a quiet “That’s naughty” from Harper.
Thanking the crowd for “hanging out” with them, the band launched into the last song of their main setlist, “Good For You,” from their 2020 album Sunlight, as the crowd cheered enthusiastically around them. Leaving the stage briefly, they returned once more for their encore and, arguably, the most magical song of their entire performance.
Finishing off with an undeniable sleekness, the band performed their final song, “Booster Seat,” bathing the audience in the glittery sheen of a disco ball. Standing amongst blissful faces and swirling lights, the ending of the concert perfectly encapsulated the sacrosanctity of Spacey Jane’s performance at The Chapel.
Even if audience members entered the concert only as a mild enthusiast of the band, they surely left a newly indoctrinated member of the church of Spacey Jane, completely and totally awash in the glory of their performance.