Let me set the scene for you; it is a Saturday night and there is a particularly rowdy audience in the Birmingham Institute. A very youthful crowd have spent most of the evening already crowd surfing and moshing to the support bands and it only gets more intense during the main act. You might expect this sort of behaviour at your typical heavy rock gig, but this is a surreal experience to my senses, as the music tonight comes from none other than indie surf band JAWS.
Another weird juxtaposition tonight comes in the form of JAWS strolling on stage as cool as cucumbers to Jay-Z’s Ni**as in Paris; an unusual choice of introduction song. The audience love it none the less as they cheer for the Birmingham-based band. As a set opener, the band opt for one of their livelier tunes, Donut; which has everyone bouncing from the get go. This is followed up with the synth-laden Surround You, which just seems to hype the crowd up more.
By the third song, Time; the moshing and crowd surfing is in full flow and has already got to a stage where both security and management are worried that there may be injuries, so the band are promptly stopped half way through the song. After some slight booing, JAWS’ frontman Connor asks everyone to calm down and pick up anyone if they fall or get pushed over, and then the band begin the song again and this time play all the way through.
The rest of the evening’s set was compiled largely from tracks from debut album Be Slowly and their earlier EPs, and included fan favourites such as Think Too Much Feel Too Little, Home and Be Slowly as the band weaved their magic on the beautifully lit stage. Also, two of the band’s new songs, Simplicity and Bad Company were showcased part the way through the evening and seemed to suggest a potential change in musical direction for the the band, as these were grungier than their usual sound, but well received all the same.
One of my personal highlights of the night came when the band performed a stripped back version of Stay In, which showed us JAWS in their purest form and gave the crazy audience a well earned break while they calmed down for a bit. Closing their main set on Gold, the band returned to the stage after much chanting and applause from the hyped up audience to end the night on an encore of Toucan Surf and Friend Like You, and everyone left delighted. Overall, an excellent and unusual night from a very promising young band. I can see these lads progressing to play much bigger venues and festivals in the not so distant future, so if you want to see JAWS in a intimate setting, catch them while you can!