JAWS LIVE @ The Borderline, Soho 28.1.14

Whilst 2014 will never match 2013 as a year when Birmingham bands burst into the limelight and public attention – see Peace, Swim Deep – it will certainly be one when those such bands cement the B-Town scene’s place in music. JAWS were the best of the rest last year, only falling short of the exposure their city-mates received by virtue of the fact that they didn’t release an album.

Tonight, a packed out Borderline in London’s Soho bore witness to the raw ambition of a group of youngsters fully intent on taking this year by the scruff of the neck. The frenzied, booze-fuelled moshing was evidence as much as anything that these guys are already causing great excitement on a wide scale. The band themselves were quick to call for their delirious followers to tone down the euphoria before someone got hurt. It only increased…

But beyond the flattened noses, black eyes and broken wall signs – yes, even helpless inanimate objects weren’t safe from the ensuing chaos – JAWS fully justified the nationwide hype that has been attached to them ever since they first crept onto the scene. Rarely has music so comparatively soft produced such volatile crowd emotions; emotions which you’d like to think would continue to reign strong if JAWS illuminate this summer’s festivals as they should.

Even the ultimate chilled vibe of the sublime ‘BreeZe’ managed to induce untold bedlam amongst the young audience in this compact and – quite literally – underground venue. Nestled beneath the streets of the capital, this show was the perfect realisation of the dream world JAWS serve to create through their sound.

Tonight was also an occasion on which the band proved that their music is far more than just a soundtrack to summer. Sure, that season goes hand in hand with their dream/indie/surf pop tunes – whatever you choose to call them – but it equally created a welcome warmth amid the bitterness of the winter outside. The song title ‘Stay In’ could hardly have been more appropriate tonight; this was the place to be.

That was just one of the very much expected numbers that the lads whizzed through in their somewhat frustratingly short set. From the way frontman Connor Schofield – equipped with his customary snapback – spoke, they weren’t fussed in the slightest about omitting the regular encore. Fans pining for JAWS’ cover of ‘Everlong’ would certainly leave with a touch of disappointment, though they were treated to a song from the freshly recorded debut album. There was no letting slip the title, but from the sounds of it and the already released material, this small Birmingham scene will have produced three corking albums in the space of two years.

No release date has been set as yet, so for the time being ‘Gold’ remains the newest of JAWS’ tunes there for the taking. It was, perhaps, apt therefore that they played it to round off the night; it’s as far as they’ve come to date but it acts as a clear indicator of where they will go in the coming months and, dare I say, years.

Tom Hancock

Tom Hancock

Tom Hancock

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