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.
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.
One-man band Ed Sheeran hit up the LG Arena in Birmingham three nights in a row from the 18th-20th of October. I was lucky enough to see him on his final Monday night appearance with folk and roll acoustics; turning the crowd into his very own “gospel choir” plus rapping skills even the likes of Jay Z would be impressed by.
The night kicked off with the first of two opening acts Jamie Lawson, relatively unknown Irish singer-song writer. His striped down acoustics and love related lyrics match those of Ed Sheerans even managing to get the crowd to sing along to the chorus of one of his songs ‘Dig A Little Deeper’. As the night went on the highly anticipated Saint Raymond aka Callum Burrows singer-songwriter and his band took center stage. His glittering indie pop rock sound mixed with catchy lyrics won the crowd over, having them sing along in minutes. This might have something to do with the fact Saint Raymond earlier that day came out to greet queuing fans and acoustically sing a few songs. The spanglely guitar sounds and ringing tingling drums in catchy chorus of the song ‘I Want You’ had the crowd thoroughly warmed up, just like a support act should do.
Then Ed Sheeran promptly appears on stage casual as ever opting to walk from side stage and immediately start playing ‘I’m A Mess’. Without any build up or overly compacted entrance Ed Sheeran continues to be his humble self later he explains this is his third and finial night playing the LG Arena and how privileged he felt. Particular highlights of the show were when Ed did an impressive mash up of his hit single ‘Don’t’, Chris Browns ‘Loyal’ and RnB classic ‘No Diggity’, managing to combine his love of RnB music with his own acoustic set. Ed also managed to get the crowd to put an arm in the air and bounce a hand up and down during the chorus of Bloodstream where he explained it’s “like the rappers do” and will “look really cool” which too his credit it did.
A sea of phone lights swarmed the arena during ‘A Team’ (undoubtedly his most famous song). Thus making all 14,000 of us look like little twinkling dots. Ed’s eyes misted over and smile graced his face letting everyone know how much of a special moment it was for him before stating that this was his last song before clarify ‘technically its not my last song, I have two more but pretend it is’ then walked off stage to await an encore.
A stamping of feet and screaming fangirls lead to Ed’s reappearance. Strolling on to center stage with ‘You Need Me I Don’t Need You’ showing off his rapping prowess and the crowd impressively matching him word for word. The night ended with Ed Sheeran’s first number 1 ‘Sing’ where he instructed the crowd “do not stop singing” and to “scream it out”, which they did. The infectious chorus had people singing long after the show ended proving that Ed Sheeran even though seemingly plain on exterior can really put on a spectacular show with just his raw talent.
On the 2nd of May at the LG Arena Birmingham self titled super group McBusted performed to a sold out venue full of people from all walks of life. This was surely the most eclectic group of people I had seen at one gig in a long while, from little kids from as you as 7 to middle aged mums to you’re average barely teenager like myself seeking to relive a bit of their childhood. The extended band brought us all together for one last hurrah for Busted with a helping hand from Mcfly.
A weird combination? Think again actually both bands are weirdly intertwined Tom Flectcher lead vocalist from Mcfly was briefly the fourth member of Busted in 2001. But just two days later, the band made the decision to be a trio and gave Tom the boot. As we know not all was lost for Tom as he found his current Mcfly band mates; Dougie Poynter, Harry Judd and Danny Jones. The Mcfly boys also opened for Busted back in 2004 so really their bands have been intertwined long before Mcbusted became a reality. All the original members agreed to take part in the venture apart from Busted front man Charlie Simpson who is focusing on a solo career.
The show gets underway with a short video on screen showing a mock up on the two remaining Busted stars Matt Willis and James Bourn announcing Busted’s split and deciding to go back in time to stop that from happening in turn meaning Mcfly never exist and the four lads careers lose focus (are you still with me??). Long story short going back in time means you need a time machine in the form of the car from Year 3000 undoubtedly Busted’s biggest hit. Matt and James fly on the stage in said car and 2394506 smoke machines causing the crowd to go crazy followed by the Mcfly boys to popping up from the stage.
The show was lively and fee good with an interesting stage setup meaning some lucky fans were positioned literally in the middle of the act called my ‘OMG zone’ and honestly I would be screaming OMG too if Danny repeatedly spat water on me!
All the classic Busted and Mcfly songs were played including ‘Glad I Crashed The Wedding’ featuring Matt Willis in a very fetching wedding dress and Star Girl featuring a massive floating UFO they band performed on. The lads seemed like genuine friends, buddies just enjoying their job and mucking about in the process it was really lovely to see. The few touching moments came from James Bourn’s solo rendition of Sleeping With The Light on which had the whole audience doing the modern day version of putting a lighter in the air aka turning your iphone on torch mode and sway your arms.
The show ended with the song everyone had been waiting for Year 3000 and Im sure making childhood dreams were fufilled that night with laughs and even more laughs from the superest of groups McBusted!
It’s always bitter sweet watching someone you’ve grown up with blossom and change without you and I guess it’s the same with bands. Following a band from virtual unknown to mega stardom is a surreal experience. Having to keep the utter excitement of finding new music they release to yourself, having difficulty keeping track of their endeavours, promoting them left right and center in the hopes they feel validated enough to carry on making music and not being able to bring up them up in a topic of conversation you so desperately want to express without being met with blank faces. Things become very personal very quickly that way. They’re not just a band anymore they’re your band, your secret no one knows about, something special.
I’ve had this connection with a handful of bands, one of the most poignant is The 1975. From stumbling across a faceless band on youtube when I was 14 to watching them perform at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall at the age of 19 made me feel a plethora of emotions. The overriding one being pride closely followed by panic. My secret is out but look what it can do.
Finally walking into the great hall with weeks worth of excitement brewed inside me I was giddy, unbelievably happy, feeling one of those natural highs you wish you could bottle and save for a rainy day. Singing the hilariously ironic per-show music the band picked out (consisting of 80’s hits to Justin Bieber to gangster rap) proving they wouldn’t changing no matter how big they got, they were gonna do it their way, which is one of the reasons I love them.
Not even the unenthusiastic wet blanket of an opening act could damped my spirits. I was witnessing a part of me hit an unbelievable milestone. The lights slowly get dimmer and the music slowly slowly builds. Three figures make their way on to the stage awaiting the forth. The crowd go insane when fourth member Matty Healy makes his way onto the stage bottle of wine in hand, raising it to the audience as a way of greeting us. Now I’ll just say now that Matty holds a special place in my heart I’ve met him a few times and honestly he is so genuine, honest and open with fans I find it difficult to deal with at times. I feel like I could tell him anything and he would have something to say I cherish our little chats and wish more people in the world were like this. It’s easy to judge him as a 20 something junkie with band but he’s actually so humble and stimulating to talk to I feel like with him and the whole band really you cant judge them by their appearance of black skinny jeans and different looking haircuts.
The show begins and I feel like I have been transported into another world. I think music can really do that to people. Make them forget, make them remember, make them feel. I was overwhelmed. I never feel the way I do when I listen to them play live. It’s such a incredible and stand out feeling I wish I could bottle and use whenever I’m feeling low.
The whole experience is hard to put into actual words. It is a day I will never forget with tears from both me and Matty during partially poignant songs and laugher from me and my friend trying and failing to take a good selfie in the amazingly beautiful venue. I never feel more alive then being in a room full of people with the same love of one thing -music.
Published on Studentcom 4#
On the last leg of their sold out tour synth pop band CHVRCHES make an arrival to the packed out venue HMV Institute in Birmingham. In turn making the night one to remember with flashing illuminations so bright Las Vegas would be jealous….
Published on Studentcom #3
In Birmingham’s O2 Academy on the 12th of February, The 1975 performed their biggest show outside of London. The 1975 have come along way from being just four teenagers playing in punk bands in Macclesfield…..