Live Review – JAWS @ O2 Institute
Review by Ellie-Mae Fenn
Birmingham indie rock band JAWS concluded their UK tour at the O2 Institute on April 27th. After the release of their highly anticipated third album ‘The Celling,’ it was clear that this home turf show was not one to be missed. The Birmingham boys played the main room at the Institute on a dismal, rainy Saturday night but this did not reflect that of what was happening inside this beloved Birmingham venue.
Admittedly, not being an avid listener of JAWS and it being my first time seeing them live, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Arriving at the venue shortly after doors at 6pm, it became immediately apparent that this was going to be a packed-out show. First to perform was Casey Orange, a producer/artist who encapsulated a really chilled vibe to get people warmed up. Shortly after were Honey Lung, an indie rock band, who are pretty well received. With their 90s grunge inspired sound coupled with alternative rock, they really started to get the crowd grooving.
After a 30-minute set from Honey Lung, the wait was nearly over. The room had got considerably more cramped and significantly warmer. The clock hit 8.30pm and the lights dimmed, to reveal a minimal but effective set. As soon as the guys walked on stage in their matching boiler suits, I knew this was going to be a fun gig – they were calm and collected but oozed an energy that transcended through to the audience.
They kicked off the show with ‘Looking / Passing’ a very atmospheric song, a slow start that then introduces an upbeat tempo, soon demonstrating a comfortable contrast between the heavier songs. This opening number really set the tone, coupled with the florescent lights spelling ‘JAWS’ and fans reciting every word, it got the show rolling. After a brief introduction, front man Connor went on to say “you guys are loud, keep it up” which emphasised the great reception these Brummie boys had. One of my personal favourites from the night was their hit track ‘Stay In’, welcomed by cheers, people moshing at the front and a few drunken middle-aged men loving it just as much as the 18 year olds.
It felt as though JAWS and the audience were acting as a collective, both just as committed as the other; From the very start the mosh pits started to form and the band played with such passion. JAWS really let the music speak for itself, with classic strong synths and guitar riffs but then adding a slightly different spin on their sound; This is really what drew me to this band and what makes them so unique – they seem to hold the perfect balance between indie rock and dream pop.
The finale of this set gave us the track ‘Gold.’ Even after the 90-minute set it was clear that the band, nor the crowd had tired. That’s what made this show so special, JAWS appeared so passionate but so effortless at the same time, you could tell that these boys were home and they knew what made a good show – it’s safe to say, I left a fan and I will be at their next tour. JAWS you smashed it!