Jaws @ O2 Academy, Liverpool 30/11/15

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Just 2 weeks after I declared Drenge at The Magnet the sweatiest gig of my life, Jaws at the O2 Academy gave it a run for its money. Monday night saw B-Town pioneers Jaws play in Liverpool for the first time since they played at East Village Arts Club last September.

The band who opened the show last September, did the same on Monday. Representing Merseyside, four-piece Vynce played a captivating set of tracks from their 2014 EP ‘Waves’ as well as a few new ones including the new single ‘Lust’. The indie pop quartet seem to have found inspiration in disco and jazz music for their new material. Frontman Peter Pegasiou took every oppurtunity to make sure the Liverpool crowd kept dancing. They even found to slip in a fantastic cover of The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, first heard in a live session for BBC Radio Stoke.

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The second support act was Sheffield duo Nai Harvest. The band, who since their emergence way back in 2011 have gone back and forth between shoegaze indie and pop-punk, played an exceptionally diverse hour-long set after opening with the reverb-drenched ‘Ocean Of Madness’. The self-proclaimed ‘slacker pop’ band impressed the young O2 Academy crowd with their fuzzy, garagey sound and distorted vocals. Singer and guitarist Ben Thompson and drummer Lew Currie returned to their place behind the Nai Harvest merch table the second they stepped off stage.

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At quarter to 10, Jaws strolled out from backstage to a reception of whoops and cheers. The three of them that is. Bassist Jake Cooper left the band earlier this year, leaving Jaws as a trio. So, Connor, Alex and Eddy- along with a stand-in bass player- kicked off the show with new single ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’. Since its release in September, Jaws fans have had plenty of time to accustom themselves with this track which is likely to feature on their second album. The upbeat track, which is more guitar-heavy than anything on their 2014 debut album ‘Be Slowly’- got the crowd warmed up if they hadn’t been warmed up enough by Vynce and Nai Harvest.

Following up their latest single was ‘Stay In’ and ‘Breeze’, two pre-Be Slowly tracks released in 2013; 2 of the songs which really pushed Jaws into the spotlight when the 2013 B-town indie scene popped up. The bass-heavy Stay In was ably performed by the band’s stand-in bassist and the ‘breezy’ Breeze was awesome. Breaking up the 2013 throwback was ‘Home’, a massively underrated track from Be Slowly. And going back to the golden oldies was ‘Toucan Surf’, a song equally iconic of the B-town scene.

Frontman Connor Schofield introduced their next song as a new one. Presumably one from their unreleased second album but who knows. ‘Cast’ sounded good- nothing particularly memorable but I’m sure it will be a grower. “This is the sad one…” announced Connor before playing the melancholic ‘NYE’. Channeling a rare subdued mood, Jaws drifted flawlessly through the track as Connor sung the lyrics; ‘I feel like a bag of bones, I feel like I’m sick of being on my own’. Then it was the turn of another debut album song, ‘Think Too Much, Feel Too Little’: a song which doesn’t really sound like a Jaws song. In an interview, they once revealed that they had wrote and recorded Think Too Much as a joke as it wasn’t their kind of music. But they liked it so much they ended up releasing it in April 2014. It also found its way on their debut album that September.

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Singer and guitarist Connor revealed to the Liverpool crowd that they had just finished recording their second album, which clearly pleased them. He confirmed that the following song would be on it and that song was called ‘Work It Out’. It was a memorably catchy song and generally a good indie rock tune. I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to hear it again. “Be Slowly” Connor muttered into the mic before Jaws fired straight into the namesake of their debut album. The upbeat track became an instant fan favourite with its release last year.

‘Friend Like You’ was next on Jaws’ set list. The 2013 track, taken from Milkshake EP, made for a great singalong anthem and this excitable Liverpool crowd got right into it. They then played ‘Bad Company’: the single released in May which could possibly feature on their second album. Upon its release, fans were surprised by Jaws’ change of sound and their apparent longing to play something slightly heavier. The circle pits had a field day with this one.

At this point, Connor grabbed the mic and said something to the effect of “This is the point where we usually walk off stage and stand just behind there for a couple of minutes and then come back on. But instead, we’ll just stay and play you some tunes”. Without further ado, they played ‘Surround You’: a track released as a single way back in 2012 with Stay In as a B-side. Somehow, both of these songs found their way onto September 2014’s Be Slowly. That being said, Surround You is an absolute banger. Bringing the curtain down on a fantastic night in a fantastic way was fan favourite ‘Gold’. The song prompted all-out mosh pits and a massive singalong.

This was my third time seeing Jaws- quite possibly the best time I’ve seen them live, and the crowd was definitely the best. I was also very impressed by both the support acts but Vynce in particular. They’re back with intent with their new single ‘Lust’ and they are ones to watch. As for Jaws, I’ll be eagerly awaiting news on this second album of theirs.

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