JAWS come across as a humble band. Whilst their fellow B-town revolutionaries grace the online pages of Vogue and get nominated for NME awards left right and centre, JAWS plod along unassumingly with their sun-kissed and tranquil indie sound. That’s not to say they don’t deserve equal plaudits – Be Slowly was one of 2014’s most overlooked offerings (channelling Kanye) and they deserve as much credit as their fellow West-Midlanders.
Tonight they’re topping an impressive bill in the bowels of Charing Cross. Hype bands such as Spring King and Spectrals warm a young and excitable crowd up, whilst South-Londoners Happyness treat us to “an odyssey of easy listening sex rock” – their energetic performance complimenting their cheeky and obscure on-stage banter.
After a Paris themed introduction from Watch the Throne, JAWS are up and the band commence their set with early B-side ‘Donut’. The track seems like a surprising choice for an opener and illustrates how far the band has come from their prior EP material. ‘Surround you’ and ‘Time’ fire the crowd up into a frenzy, so much so that a few bravely scale their friends skinny shoulders, creating tree-like silhouettes across the front of the stage. The falls from such heights being equally dramatic.
‘Home’ proves to be the most impressive track of the night. With a hook reminiscent of Nirvana’s ‘Come as You Are’ and a powerful euphoric mid-section – the track showcases the band’s ability to launch ruggedly into a chorus. ‘Think too Much, Feel too Little’ is another highlight of the set, with its infectious looping hook making it impossible for the crowd to stay still and plunging the front of the stage into further frenzy.
Throughout the set, the band’s stage presence reflects the calm and modest aura of their songs. The whole performance seems effortless but never lazy and it’s a shame that the crowd is far from full capacity. Avid listeners of JAWS’ recorded material may wonder whether that blissed out, shimmering sound transfers to the live setting and tonight’s show is confirmation, albeit with slightly less polished vocals.
The band also uses the night to roll out a few new tracks, the first of which is a heavier stompy number which takes an intriguing detour away from their usual material. ‘Be Slowly’ brings the boys back into familiar album territory before an announcement that there’ll be no going off stage for the encore. The glistening hook of fan favourite ‘Gold’ signals the end of the set and a young crowd (jacked up on pints of Sprite and the Kolo Toure song) erupts for the final time.