Philadelphia Grand Jury

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Philadelphia Grand Jury
The Philly Jays.jpg
Philadelphia Grand Jury performing live in January 2011. L-R: Simon Berckelman and Joel Beeson
Background information
Also known as The Philly Jays
Origin Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Indie rock, punk, soul
Years active 2008–2011; 2013–present
Labels Normal People Making Hits/Boomtown Records
Associated acts Art vs. Science
I Heart Hiroshima
The Paper Scissors
Members Simon Berckelman
Joel Beeson
Dan Williams
Past members Susanna Patten
Calvin Welch
Ivan Lisyak

Philadelphia Grand Jury (The Philly Jays) are an Australian trio from Sydney, New South Wales. The band's current 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 on drums. They play a mix of indie, punk and soul.[1]


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.

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.[2]

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.[3] "Going to the Casino" received significant airplay on Triple J[4] and featured on the television mini-series Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, also appearing on the soundtrack album.[5][6]

The band's debut album, Hope Is for Hopers, was released on 25 September 2009,[7][8] reaching No. 34 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[9]

Williams departed from the group in September 2009.[10] Williams' position was temporarily filled by Ivan Lisyak, aka 'Emergency Ivan,' before a permanent replacement - American session musician, Calvin Welch (Earth, Wind and Fire, Sonny Stitt) - joined the band.[10][11]

At the fourth annual AIR Awards, held on 22 November 2009, Philadelphia Grand Jury won an award for 'Best Independent Single or EP' with their single Going To The Casino.[12][13]

A music video "The Good News" was filmed in North Sydney and at Parsley Bay, Rowe Street-Bondi Junction & Lighthouse Reserve-Vaucluse. It was released in November 2009. The song ranked at number 57 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of that year.

In October 2010, the band announced that 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 (of I Heart Hiroshima),[14] 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.[15] When FasterLouder sought a follow-up, they were met with the following statement in regards to the band's current status.[16]

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.

Following the split, 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. Feelings released their debut album, "Be Kind Unwind," in October 2013. 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 Philadelphia Grand Jury reunion, which were confirmed with a midnight performance by the band at the 2013 BIGSOUND Festival in Brisbane. The band then announced a tour for December 2013, incorporating songs for both Feelings and Philadelphia Grand Jury across two sets.[17]

In late 2014, it was revealed the band would be heading to Berlin in 2015 to record new material. The sessions resulted in the band's second studio album, which had the working title of Ulterior Motif. A new single, "Crashing and Burning, Pt. II," was released in August of 2015. The album, now titled Summer of Doom, is set for release in October 2015.



  • Hope Is for Hopers (2009)
  • Hope Is for the Hopeless (Hope is for Hopers reissue) (2010)
  • Summer of Doom (2015)


  • "Going to the Casino" (2009)
  • "The Good News" (2009)
  • "I Don't Want to Party (Party)" (2010)
  • "Save Our Town" (2010)
  • "Crashing and Burning, Pt. II" (2015)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Boomtown Records signs Philadelphia Grand Jury". Boomtown Records. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  3. ^ "Philadelphia Grand Jury - Going to the Casino". Faster 17 July 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Going to the Casino (Tomorrow Night)". J Play. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities soundtrack". Chaos music. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Underbelly soundtrack". Channel Nine. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "Philly Jays hit the road". Mess+Noise. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  8. ^ Dibbs, Lisa (18 August 2009). "Philadelphia Grand Jury announce debut album". The Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "Hope is for Hopers - Philadelphia Grand Jury". Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "TheVine Radio Player Feature - Philadelphia Grand Jury". 30 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  11. ^ "Philly Jays recruit new drummer". 23 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "2009 Air Awards". AIR. November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Cashmere, Paul (24 November 2009). "The Drones Take Home The Major Air Award". Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "Philly Jays announce drummer No. 4". 1 October 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Philadelphia Grand Jury "on hiatus"". 17 March 2011. 
  17. ^

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