After a decade of brilliant mayhem, two albums and a brief hiatus, Philadelphia Grand Jury remain one of Sydney’s most beloved live bands. Like a cherished gem, they dazzle with their entrancing presence while reflecting a history buried just beneath the surface.
The holy trio of Dan W. Sweat, MC Bad Genius and Simon ‘Berkfinger’ Berckelman concoct a redolent sound sparse in the pop-rock scene.
While it has been a hot minute since the Philly Jays crushed the airwaves with Ready to Roll or Bit Of A Bummer, the triad has ironed out the creases and are set to return in big ways with a whole lot more madness amidst the law and order in store for 2020.
Take a walk through the last 10 years of Philadelphia Grand Jury as they eagerly look forward to the years ahead.
Philadelphia Grand Jury have witnessed a formative decade in Sydney’s music scene since their incredible debut album Hope Is For Hopers. From starting their own label to building a studio in Berlin, it all began in 2009 when the trio Going to the Casino (Tomorrow Night) as a 7″ vinyl. A comic satiric of Syndey’s nightlife culture the tune was immediately picked up by Triple J, and the Philly Jays were born in glorious sparks.
The tune was then picked up by Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities and appeared on the soundtrack album. Wind in their sales, the trio signed a joint record deal with Boomtown Records, and their own label, Normal People Making Hits, dropping their magnificent debut album Hope Is For Hopers.
The reaching No.34 on the ARIA Charts, the triumphant trio were poised for greatness. But as other creative endeavours called to the triplicate they were on hiatus. After two years of touring the United Kingdoms, the United States, and Australia, Joel Beeson went from MC Bad Genius to Boyhood in order to pursue production and remix work. Meanwhile, Simon Berckelman moved to Berlin and begin his solo project, Feelings, releasing the debut Be Kind Unwind in 2013.
Heading back Down Under, Berckelman assembled his old bandmates to perform under Feelings as they embarked on an Australian tour. The trio playing together for the first time in four years had rumours immediately swirling about a Philly Jays reunion, spreading like wildfire on the wind.
For once the whispers were true and the triumvirate returned triumphant with a special midnight performance at 2013s’ BIGSOUND. The Philly Jays were back! In 2015, the outfit ventured abroad to Berlin to record their second studio album Summer Of Doom.
In 2018 they told Happy about the birth of “bong punk” explaining, “Do you know about the time I mixed Dune Rats and they couldn’t pay their bill for ages? And I eventually hassled them and they were like “Awww man…”, you know how they speak? That’s how they write emails, they were like “I’m gonna have to get my mum to pay, ay, we’ll put it on her credit card.” And their mum paid for their first mix.”
The outfit are now stronger than ever and, if the rumours are true, there may be a third album on the horizon for 2020.