Live Review: Jaws – London


March 4th, Heaven, London

Words: Lauren Grigor

jawsI walk in under the arches to a venue full of teens and a band on stage who are right into their 7:30 stage time. Not ideal as The Vestals are clearly a band who would benefit from a rowdier and more engaged crowd. They pull off a lovely version of Human Being from the Drive OST but I feel like it passes over the heads of the young crowd, the band create good sound so maybe just need a few more gigs to really read their audience.

A friend introduced me to Happyness a month ago so I’ve been really looking forward to seeing them in the flesh, they’re an odd trio that go above and beyond my expectations. Their songs are concise yet fun and loud, featuring sweet harmonies and unique vox effects. Their set is so enthralling because they don’t try too hard but they are multi-talented musicians who create a wicked sound, at times reminding me of Pulp and The Velvet Underground but mostly just their own style shines through.

The guys are chirpy and enjoying having a laugh amongst themselves and banter with the crowd, telling us to get ready for “An Odyssey of easy-listening sex rock” they play single Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same and introduce Leave The Party following with “But, don’t go just yet, I’m loving their cheeky chat with the crowd. In the last few songs there is some serious wizard-like shredding and falsetto from the frontmen, is it part of the song? Who knows or cares – at this point they’ve just created an entire venue of dedicated fans.
I cannot think of a better name for this band than Happyness, because I genuinely cannot wipe the smile off my face when they’re done.

Onto my favourite of the night – Spring King – These guys got my attention last year with their song Demons which sadly doesn’t get played but they do deliver a relentless set including some of their stronger tracks Better Man’ and ‘I’m Your Only Friend‘,which, to me sounds a bit faster than the record but I’m not complaining. Full respect for these guys and having the drummer as their lead singer. Fellow band members keep the harmonies strong – despite the looks on their faces as some of those higher notes were hit – they’re on point and sound strong. I get reminders of Superfood but they really stay true to their style of enveloping, psychedelic rock.

Full props to the stage managers for managing to get 4 young bands on stage on time with a rowdy crowd of teenagers, We were hardly kept waiting when JAWS walks on the stage to lights, smoke, screams and, ironically, Jay-Z’s That shit Cray, within 30 seconds Yeezy is cut and the JAWS boys get straight into it, no announcement, just noise and lights.

It’s clear at this point that this is who the crowd is here to see, there’s all forms of crowd surfing and fan-girling. They maintain a fantastic sound throughout, The lead singer’s unique voice resonating throughout the venue sounds permanently monotonous yet still managing to hit all the notes he needs to.
I would have loved to see the keys/synth player on stage with the others to add to the atmosphere.

These guys have created and perfected the genre of what I can only describe as sparkly, Fender-heavy, teen-summer-indie-pop-rock. They are nothing short of professional and deliver hit after hit to the hungry adolescent crowd. Great to hear them playing slightly older single ‘Surround You’, which feels very tumblr generation, likewise with Think Too Much, Feel Too Little.
I feel like they could interact with the crowd a little more, especially following the insane energy of the previous two bands, sometimes frontman Connor looks a little bored – maybe it’s his concentrating face but he comes across as effortlessly cool and uninterested.

Moving into new tracks that they’ve been working on recently, the sound is a lot grungier and heavier, and while I like the ethereal electronica sounds, I prefer them like this, maybe a new direction for the band for 2015? They sort of remind me of Placebo or The Stone Roses in parts which is awesome, they’ve got a unique sound and enough solid tunes to keep everyone interested, especially after we’ve all already seen 4 bands. A song that really gets the crowd invested is Stay In, starting out really stripped back and eventually bringing in the whole band to cognate that powerful wall of noise. There’s quite a bit of feedback in the last few songs, such a shame as the sound has been impeccable up till now.

As much as I would love to see a style overhaul and perhaps a bit more ‘wow’, I cannot deny that these guys have so much musical integrity, of a band so young they are going to be respected for years to come.

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