2008 – 2011 (3 years)
- Simon Berckelman
Philadelphia Grand Jury (The Philly Jays) are an Australian trio from Sydney, New South Wales. The band's line up consists of Joel "MC Bad Genius" Beeson on bass, keyboard and guitar, Simon "Berkfinger" Berckelman on vocals and guitar and Dan "Dan W. Sweat" Williams drums. They play a mix of indie, punk and soul.
Beeson originally formed a band called Johnson in 2001 with his friend Berckelman, before creating the indie band label Motherlovin' Records in 2004. Subsequent bands included Malcolm X & the Black Auditorium and Berkfinger and The Sweats, the latter combining to form Philadelphia Grand Jury in early 2008. Dan Williams (aka Dan W. Sweat) was the band's original drummer before departing from the group in September 2009 to focus on performing with Art vs. Science. He rejoined the band in 2013 as a part of the band's reunion.
In May 2009, the band signed a joint venture deal with Boomtown Records to release their records, on their own label, Normal People Making Hits, with distribution through Shock Records.
In June 2009, the band released "Going to the Casino (Tomorrow Night)" as a 7" vinyl EP. The EP was self-recorded, produced and released. "Going to the Casino" received significant airplay on Triple J and featured on the television mini-series Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, also appearing on the soundtrack album. The band's debut album, Hope Is for Hopers, was released on 25 September 2009, reaching #34 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
At the fourth annual AIR Awards, held on 22 November 2009, Philadelphia Grand Jury won an award for 'Best Independent Single or EP'. The video for "The Good News" was filmed in North Sydney and at Parsley Bay, Rowe Street-Bondi Junction & Lighthouse Reserve-Vaucluse.
In October 2010, the band announced that they had Welch had left the band, as the 'rigours of the road have proved too arduous for the 55-year-old drummer'. Welch's replacement was Berlin-based, Brisbane-born Susanna "Susie Dreamboat" Patten (formerly of I Heart Hiroshima), who performed with the band on their tour of the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Patten finished touring with the band in January 2011.
In March 2011, news surfaced that the band had abandoned work on the follow up to Hope is for Hopers. When FasterLouder sought a follow-up, they were met with the following statement in regards to the band's current status.
Philadelphia Grand Jury are on something of a hiatus. No need to make it a bigger deal than it is. Creative individuals tend to have more than one project and Philadelphia Grand Jury is just one of Berkfinger’s musical personas. Berkfinger is currently focusing on other projects, including moving his recording gear to Berlin to finish the recordings that he has been working on in the various incarnations of studios that he has built over the years.
On 2 November 2011 the band posted on their Facebook page that the band had broken up.
Beeson moved onto production and remix work under the moniker of Boyhood, while Berckelman relocated to Berlin and began working on a solo project entitled Feelings. In 2013, Berckelman assembled Beeson and Williams to join him on tour in Australia under the Feelings moniker. The three playing together for the first time in nearly four years immediately sparked rumours of a reunion, which were confirmed with a midnight performance by the band at the 2013 BIGSOUND Festival in Brisbane.
Artist descriptions on Last.fm are editable by everyone. Feel free to contribute!
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.