Kangaroo Court brings psych-punk rock to CU

Photo courtesy of Hayley Anderson

Kangaroo Court opens for Post Animal at the Canopy Club on November 12. The group is currently working on an album which should be released early next year.

By Sydney Wood, Associate Editor of The Buzz

As the Champaign-Urbana music scene continues to recover from the pandemic, one of its newest garage-punk groups is taking the community by storm.

Formed in late September, Kangaroo Court has already made an impact in the community, recently opening for Post Animal at the Canopy Club in mid-November.

Jake Luce – founder, singer and guitarist of Kangaroo Court – described the band’s sound as a mix of heavy psych-rock and high-energy garage punk. He said the band also took inspiration from slow bedroom pop tunes, and their subtle bass was inspired by dubstep.

Luce said the band embodies a garage band vibe, with stripped-down sounds and guitar sounds inspired by surf rock and stuffed with overdrive distortion. And its sound is inspired by artists like Black Sabbath, Tame Impala, The Strokes and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.

Kangaroo Court is made up of Luce, lead guitarist Garrett Frank, drummer Cody Spiezil and bassist Noah Tennison. The band started playing in early October.

Luce said the group formed organically, clicking right away. He mentioned that they have natural chemistry, saying, “I just feel like I’ve known these guys a lot longer than I have.”

All members are current or former students of the University.

“Each of us also brings something different musically,” said Luce. “It’s like with our personalities. We each bring in some way what we need, so it works really well.

Kangaroo Court has rehearsals about three or four times a week. At concerts, they play almost exclusively original songs – there are about eight so far – as well as a cover of “Fell In Love With a Girl” by The White Stripes.

“I think everyone kind of wants to get punched in the face with live music after the pandemic,” Luce said. “So that’s what we’re aiming to do.”

Luce said he hopes the band’s music makes people want to start the song over and listen to it over and over again.

“If I can hook people up to the sound and get it in my head, that’s enough,” he said.

The band played a handful of house shows, usually in Urbana. Luce said Kangaroo Court has performed with bands like Soft and Dumb, Ocean Child and Decapitation In The Food Court, saying, “We really love to perform with everyone and love to be a part of the scene in general.”

“It’s just awesome,” he said. “I think people were really looking forward to going back to live music now after the pandemic and everything. So it seems like there is a huge crowd of people at every show who are just super willing to start a mosh pit dance.

Kangaroo Court is in the process of recording their first single, which will be released on all streaming platforms soon. Luce said the band currently have an album in the works and that he hopes it will be released in February.

Although the group has only been together for a few months, Luce said their stage presence is second to none and that Kangaroo Court brings a strong punk-rock energy to the community that Champaign-Urbana currently lacks.

“We get everyone in the crowd to move around our sets,” he said. “Everyone in the band is having fun playing this, so I think people really feel that when they look at us.”

In 10 years, Luce hopes that Kangaroo Court will still be active. He said his dream festivals to play would be Desert Daze in Perris, Calif. Or any show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado.

“I hope we can still play concerts and go on tour and things like that,” Luce said. “I think everyone in the band has a strong intention to stick with it and really put everything we have into this project and see where it can take us.”

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