Mega group JAWS, hailing from their home-ground of ‘B-town’, were set to take The Crescent, York, something that seemed almost too good to be true. In all honesty, York is rarely host to a band with such a large backing, something which can be widely attributed to the lack of music venues in the city. So, for students and locals alike, the prospect of hearing the hazy, sun-drenched sounds of the four-piece was extremely exciting. Through releasing their latest album Simplicity, JAWS had firmly showcased the degree of growth which has developed over their five-year career, having started the band back in 2012 whilst still in college. Waking into the somewhat shabby music venue which doubles as a Working Men’s club, it was somewhat impossible to conceive that JAWS would soon be taking to the stage for a night of music that would be my favourite York gig to date.
Despite looking as if they’d been transported from the 70’s, with their grown-out hair and extremely high-wasted trousers, Social Contract provided the perfect opening to the night. The newly formed South London four piece are fast becoming the new ‘it’ kids on the block, something which is evidenced through being picked up by JAWS despite having only the two released songs, ‘Citizen’ and ‘Six Pips’. With vocals that were reminiscent to those of Sundara Karma’s Oscar Pollock, there was a depth to their performance which is rare to such newly born bands. It was clear that the band needed to build their confidence, however this didn’t hinder their tenaciousness, as their long, but perhaps slightly self-indulgent interludes proved to be sonically impressive. It was hard to pin point their on-stage aura, although they certainly channeled the wavy guitar parts of bands such as Beach Baby. With work and time, I’m sure that Social contract will cement their own contract for a future within the music industry.
Marsicans were next on to the stage and despite a slightly rocky start, their charming energy swelled to encompass the small venue. It was as if a light had been switched on when the Leeds based four-piece began to play. Their performance was effortless, and it was apparent that the stage is where the band truly feel most at home. Despite the audience being seemingly unfamiliar with many of their tracks, it didn’t prevent them from imitating the smiles that were painted over Marsicans’ faces. I was especially taken by their ability to complement each other vocally, with impressive up-beat harmonies that fitted together seamlessly. The band’s attire, which was composed mainly of the primary colours, perfectly represented their musical style which was bold, bright and cheerful. It is safe to say that I somewhat under anticipated just how enjoyable their performance would be. If you’re ever at a loss in searching for a band to have a little boogie to, I would firmly recommend giving the bouncy alt-pop beats of Marsicans a listen.
As the lights came up, and the dreamy notes of ‘Surround You’ began to play it was as if the venue had morphed into something bigger, with the set being better suited to an arena than a Working Men’s club. Lead singer, Connor Schofield’s moody vocals proved to be even more rich and effortless live, something which I didn’t think could be possible. The crowd were immediately lost, and mosh pits somehow managed to break out even despite the low-fi vibe that was being circulated. JAWS then moved through a few of their more danceable tracks including ‘Think Too Much Feel Too Little’, with its consistently groovy guitar parts, and the immense ‘Gold’. There was little crowd interaction from the band, yet they did mention that the last time they played in York it was to a room of 12 people, which shows the amount of support that the Birmingham four-piece have acquired over the past few years, and rightly so. The lack of interaction can however be easily explained in association with Schofield humorously believing that that audience were chanting “you’re shit” rather than “Yorkshire”.
Their set was over all too quickly, but as the band commented, the encore had to immediately commence as there was no significant backstage area for them to go off and come back on. Ever since first hearing JAWS, I have felt that their lyrics are extremely relatable and touching – especially from their first EP Toucan Surf – so for the encore to feature the songs off the EP, was a definite highlight from the night. There was certainly something about JAWS as a live band that was distinct; something that manifested in their ability to truly captivate and enrapture their audience, leaving them longing for another sense of escapism.By Rebecca Higginbottom