JAWS a Band With Bite!

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Indie Pop Rock band JAWS are definitely ones to watch. Hailing from Birmingham the band are clearly influenced by the B-Town scene, touring with other Birmingham based bands such as Peace.

The band are played the Institute in Birmingham on the 7th of March and I was lucky enough to see them at their London show at nightclub Heaven. They started off the show with an interesting entrance, coming onto the stage to ‘In Paris’ by Kanye West and Jay Z, hyping up the already energetic crowd.

The lights go dark and Donut plays; one of the bands first ever songs. The twang of guitars and happy-go-lucky tune is at odds with the self deprecating lyrics. Another classic from their first EP, Surround You has familiar aggressive synth driven beat causing the audience to chant the opening of the song, the chorus falls into dreamy indie at it’s finest with an underlying dance pop theme. From their album they played the single Swim, the start to the song can only be described as the sound of raindrops- if rain with a synth sound. The chilled vocals from Connor Schofield the bands frontman make this a perfect lazy day listen.

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Even though the bands debut album has been out for less than a year JAWS let us know they have been hard at work in the studio making new music, so much so that they then continued to play us not one but two new songs.

The first being Bad Company which sounded very unlike a typical JAWS song which confused the crowd momentarily as it was rather slow without their trademark synth sound. The second was Simplicity, very bass driven perfect easy listening music and had the crowd nodding and swaying in time.

To bring the end the night to an end JAWS played Be Slowly their album’s title song. It is even more furiously upbeat and guitar driven than previously heard tracks, with synth sounds taking a backseat for this one. The last song of the night was crowd favorite Gold a mix of hard-hitting guitars and building drumbeats turning the fans into a frenzied mass and almost knocking me down! The boundless energy from the audience and music alike make JAWS a band with an added bite.

Silverside Band interview

 

Critical refection

Music is an interest of mine and combining it with my interest in journalism seemed like the logical thing to do. First of all me and my partner discussed how we would go about creating a good journalistic piece and decided an interview would be ideal. We were told that local pub The Town Crier had live music acts every saturday so decided this is where we would find our musical act to interview.

Setting up an interview with local band Silverside meant doing research into them and finding the most appropriate contact details to set it up. I found that Facebook messaging the bands page was the most effective way of communicating; interview location, time and date were given several days in advance. ‘They need to save confidence that you are professional you know what you are doing’ (Hudson and Rowlands: 2007: 93) so I stated clear the purpose of what the interview was for and where it would be used. ‘Always have a good idea of the basic information you want from a source before you start asking questions’ (Randall 2007: 72). When compiling questions for the band I took into account their background as they were all from the local area, musical interests and ending on a question involving the audience asking if they has any advice for anyone wanting to start a band. It is important to ‘ask the questions the audience wants to hear’ (Hudson and Rowlands: 2007: 92). When doing the actual interview I used interview techniques such as active listening, not looking at notes, building a rapport, using open-ended questions and making the interview more or less flow from what they were saying. ‘Short questions generally produce succinct, dramatic, focused responses’ (Tompkins: 2007: 82) which was what I wanted out of the interview, that and anecdotes that people would remember. ‘Good anecdotes can add a tremendous amount of life to stories’ and the only real way of getting anecdotes is a “matter of chatting in a relaxed way’ (Randall 2007: 76). I managed to make the band comfortable enough to joke around and comment, “he’s from Rugby but we forgive him” which brought life to the interview with laugher involved making it more enjoyable for viewers.

I found the whole thing a learning process with highs and lows. I was left in the lurch by two member of my group who didnt show up to the pub to help: film, take notes, conduct the interview and review the performance meaning that the two of us had to all these things which I found highly stressful and irritating. But being a pair made me realise how capable I am to multitask and not be easily deterred from unfamiliar situations  and people. I am a driven person and when I want to do something I will do it. In fact a few weeks after this me and my partner conducted an interview with famous musician Billy Lang who is part of the band The Subways.

So this is a step up from local bands and also a set in the right direction in where I want my career as a music journalist to go.

Gig review; Lawson- Everywhere We Go tour

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A week ago on the 12th of October I was lucky enough to attend Lawson’s Everywhere We Go tour at the London Roundhouse. The lovely lads: Adam on drums, Ryan on bass, Joel on lead guitar and Andy on guitar/lead vocals rocked their much-anticipated London show at the famous venue with so much energy I could of sworn they were glowing.

Naturally I didn’t want to be at the back of the venue, as I am not gifted with exceptional height queuing 6 hours before show time was my only option. The icy October wind mixed with the fact reams of people deciding to queue before me had me rather irritated and more than a bit chilly headed into the venue around 7:15pm. At this point I just was not in the best mood and just wanted to see Lawson not the one but two warm up acts still to come.  Managing to land slap bang in the middle if the venue around 5 rows in my mood was lifted slightly and the show began.

Kicking off the show was the oddly named band Paighton with lead singer Joe Atkinson charming the crowed with his dry wit and love of music. I was already won over by the band after the first song, switching gears from ‘I just want Lawson’ to ‘Wow I think I’ll get tickets to their own show’ in a matter of minutes. Hats off to the boys I would say I am a rather critical person and to win me over is a difficult job indeed. Finishing with their single ‘Drive’, which is a steal on itunes for the price of 75p (I should know I brought it) they made way for the second warm up act Room 94.

Paighton had completely brightened my mood and through to myself that the next band up would have a lot to live up to. Surprisingly enough a lot of the crowd knew who Room 94 were already and were greeted warming with many people in the crowd signing along to their songs. However they reminded me of all too many bands I had seen before but managed to win me over slightly by performing Kiss You by One Direction a well know song to get the crowd really moving.

After Room 94 left the stage the time was nearing when I would be graced with Lawson’s presents. I had thoroughly enjoyed the opening acts to the point were if I were to be sent home at this point I wouldn’t even have minded- the mood was electric and to add to that we’d somehow managed to move even further up the stage to 3rd row.

The lights dimmed and the curtain dropped. Lawson appeared accompanied by an infectious drumbeat and screaming teenage girls. They kicked off the show with their new single Juliet a rocky and energetic tune really got the crowd going, singing word for word even before the song was released at midnight that night. Following this were some classics from their album Chapman Square; Taking Over Me with the signature ‘oooooh’ (a favourite of mine; my summer of 2012 anthem actually).

Another of my favourite moments of the tour was actually the new songs the boys played from their reloaded version of the album Chapman Square; Chapman Square part 2.  The song Love Locked Out had a real retro feel with some old cool soul mixed in with heavy bass courtesy of Ryan Fletcher really got the crowd feeling the beat with heads bobbing and hips moving sounding very Justin Timberlake, this tune in particular really showed off the bands skill as musicians as they were each introduced by front man Andy and given a moment in the spotlight to show us what they were made of with killer bass, guitar and drum solos not to mention Andy’s amazing vocal adlibs and uncanny ability to hype up the crowd and get them to sing along to songs they’d never been heard before. Moving on to another new song that lads performed, Parachute had drummer Adam standing at the very top of the stage for a nice change with a two electric drums to give a real boom effect when preforming. The song was an epic, I could picture it in an action movie soundtrack for the finial battle scene, very dramatic almost hypnotic also tribal sounding as the crowed bobbed along to the heavy drumbeat.

An emotional part of the was show had Ryan, Joel and Adam exit the stage to leave Andy and a lone guitar to sing an acoustic of The Girl I Knew but before the intimate performance we were given an incite into what this song really means to Andy himself really opening up and letting us the audience in- I’ll admit I did well up a bit!

After a well deserved encore the lovely lads came back to sing tour titled song Everywhere You Go along with other hit singles including Brokenhearted in which the band took part in their first collaboration with rap artist B.O.B who didn’t join the band on stage but instead Andy took it upon himself to infuse a little urban twist into the song as B.O.B’s rap solo kicked in with signature rap motions and his incredible vocal adlib ability the crowed again sang along no missing a beat.

To end what must have been one of the best concerts of my life the guys presented us with one of their very first songs they had released Standing In The Dark. The light fell dimly leaving us with their silhouettes and the remnants of smoke signify the end. Andy broke the ominous silence with his acoustic chant the crowd repeated after him, building up each time with more and more feeling as we all knew this would be the finial song- the ending of something very special that only the people who were there will really understand.  As soon as the chant reaches its climax the crowd is emotional and ready for the last song. The band starts up in a frenzy and the crowd cheer and sing word for word giving as much as Lawson themselves gave.

Overall I would more than anything like to thank Lawson for putting so much thought and effort into their show. You could tell from their small and humble speeches how much-the roundhouse especially, meant to them as they reminisced about their small beginnings. You could really see them appreciate what us as an audience to see them and we enjoy what they love doing and I think at the end of the day what music should be about.

Reflection;

One of my passions is music and another is writing so writing about music seemed like a good thing to do. I wanted to write about this concert as it happened recently and turned out to be one of the best I’d ever attended. I prepare this piece I read a gig review about Two Door Cinema recent London show. I found that it was surprisingly more personal than I originally thought a review should be but liked that it was. I tried to order the piece chronologically so it was easier to follow and more realistic so people could envisage themselves there too as I wanted to share the experience not gloat about it. Watching videos I’d recorded at the show prompted my memory when writing also.