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  • Guy van Egmond

Review: Crumbly Jack

Updated: Mar 30

By Guy van Egmond (he/him)

Venue: Valhalla

Editors note: review updated 30/03/2024. Fixed grammar, and added photos.

Author’s confession: I know Eden Brown, the band’s lead singer. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I critically undervalued CubaDupa this year, I barely spent more than an afternoon roaming the festival. That said, I think I lucked out when I ducked into Valhalla to check out Crumbly Jack. 

The four-piece band charmed in their 30-minute slot, drawing in a constant stream of people from the post-lunch street crowds. They played a lineup of mostly unreleased material with a great multi-genre flow: it definitely had strong roots in jazz performance (which was how the band first met), but branched off into wonderful blends of R&B, soul, and funk. Eden Brown’s strong, velvety vocals evoked Jill Scott and Erykah Badu (whose Penitentiary Philosophy the band covered brilliantly), and they were backed up by a strong trio of instrumentalists. Louis Holland was captivating as a drummer who seemed completely distracted, but played with such delicacy and care. Jack Harris’ bass served as a strong backbone to the band and had the whole Valhalla floor grooving, while Theo Thompson delivered fantastic guitar solos you could get lost in. 

The band’s unreleased songs—Dragonfly, Snowman, Simon and Affirmations—were all built on well-designed riffs, coming back to the same cycles that were so nice to listen to. Their lyrics are catchy and poetically narrative, with the charm of a young band but plenty of maturity and self-respect. The band as whole definitely draws from the long history of jazz and R&B, but keeping it fresh and unique with their own, homegrown and street-honed sound. 

With a successful single and an EP already released in 2022, Crumbly Jack’s new material bodes for a future on the up and up again. They spent the summer playing on tour with Skram and Marmalade, and in Feb they opened for Will McLean and Casual Healing (check out Jia’s interview with Casual Healing too!). They’re more and more to be found at San Fran, Meow and now Valhalla; if they’re on the set list, go check it out!


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