Picture courtesy of Gingerdope Photography.
Debut Album Be Slowly Out Now Via Rattlepop.
If you’ve kept half an eye on the more ambitious side of indie music these past few years then there’s a good chance you’d of caught a glimpse of JAWS. Good chance? Glimpse? Scratch that, these are a band that – if you’ve given them half a chance – have been all up in your grill, and soundtracking it, all the way since 2012.
This is their second time here at Southampton Joiners, and the mood is set pretty early with a raucous set from Sheffield duo Nai Harvest. The Joiners is a classic, and much revered, toilet-circuit venue with a only 250 capacity and all the space is pretty much taken. Yet, despite the sardine-tin nature of it all, I’m struggling to remember a crowd so excited and frisky. It takes mere seconds to work out that most people are shit-faced already and, unsurprisingly, Nai Harvest’s pop-fuzz goes down astoundingly. ‘How can JAWS top this?’ I’m starting to think.
The boys come on and the crowd loses it, the new bassist walks in with a tight, black KISS shirt and gets a few drunken shout-outs and they blaze on with their set, opening with ‘BreeZe’. ‘Toucan Surf’ is where things really start to step up a gear though, it’s a strange moment when the band reaches their most dream-y and the crowds seems their most drunk, or so I thought. “Three words… everything is okay,” sings Connor Schofield. Everything is more than okay by my reckoning. The song finishes and the band make a dangerous remark: “We’ve just finished recording our latest album.” The crowd loses it, again.
A slightly overexcited observer throws a mostly-drunk pint of milk less than a foot to the right of Connor and there’s a short burst of gasps and giggles before he asks “Who brings milk to a gig?!” Everyone has taken it well and before a short-lived interval of minimal polite remarks (Connor often does the bare minimum) he says: “Thanks for coming guys, we really appreciate it”, the band charges into “Stay In”, the crowd even more crazy, buoyed by the good news. “
The show takes another great leap forward when the band start ‘Be Slowly’, one of their best and most popular songs. From the back I’m feeling radiant at the view in front of me, people are turning to each other en masse, with radiant faces, ecstatic, as if to say “THIS IS FUCKING AMAZING!”. It’s a beautiful picture and I delay buying a beer just to savour the sight in front of me. “I think this is my favourite show of the tour,” says Connor. This could be a crowd-pleasing gesture, but I judging by the band and crowd’s enjoyment, I don’t think so.
The group finish with ‘Surround You’ and ‘GOLD’ and there’s a sense of wild panic that, yes, this is all going to be over soon and – provoked by this cold reality – a mass stage invasion begins. A select few have been making regular incursions onto the stage throughout the night, but within seconds there are more performers up front than people in the crowd. At least you get your money’s worth, right?
There’s a screech and then a thud and suddenly everything goes quiet. Amongst the horde of stage invaders some effervescent idiot has pulled a cord and the song has come to a halt. “We can’t play drums if you’re stood on them,” Connor chuckles, taking this hysteria on the chin. “A new rule; if you get on the stage, jump off.” The minute the last chord rings people begin making their way towards the exit, faces beaming. “That was sooooo fucking good,” I hear a girl say to her friend.
She’s right, gigs are rarely this good.