• James Booton

JAWS - Live @ O2 Ritz Manchester, 26/04/19


As the first glimpses of summer have graced the nation and festival season can be seen just around the corner, we have entered that magical time of the year when it feels like new music is being released every hour. There have been many huge album releases in recent weeks including Cage The Elephant and Loyle Carner to name a few, yet there was one that especially perked our interest...'The Ceiling', the third album from JAWS. So, we popped down to The O2 Ritz, Manchester to see how the new release filled up this grand venue.

The first noticeable visual was the vast number of people. Towards the end of the second support’s set, the venue was packed. Not of people casually chatting, but of people transfixed on the stage, navigating the human labyrinth to find the perfect spot to enjoy the night they had been waiting for for months. The expectations in that room were immense. Yet the pressure of performing in their biggest ever venue didn’t phase the young band one bit!

They jumped straight into two new tracks, ‘Looking / Passing’ and ‘Please Be Kind’. Two songs that, on the surface are mellow and melodic, yet, looking around the crowd, channel an inner passion much greater than the swelling chords they present. The latter of the two brought the the room to a brightening euphoria with its uplifting and relateable chorus. In fact, this was the most striking feature of the night, the way that the songs resonated with every member of the room. The words of “You are on my mind, so darling please be kind” are pure and connect with people by exploring the vulnerability of love that almost all have experienced.

We all know the difficulties of writing a third album. As an artist, your first record is your introduction, your first impressions and is your own, to deliver as you please. Your second record is almost a test, ‘Was the first one a fluke? Can they keep it up?’. Yet, the third is a different matter. It is a mind boggling balancing act. On one hand you want to do something slightly and show that you have evolved from the first album (something that Catfish and The Bottlemen have been criticised of failing to do with their most recent release). On the other hand you don’t want to stray too far from your roots and risk disappointing those who have been fans since the start. So after passing the first two hurdles with their explosive debut ‘Be Slowly’ followed by the dabatebly even more rounded and enticing ‘Simplicity’, JAWS had a challenge on their hands.

Yet this night confirmed that they have passed this challenge with ease, delivering songs with their trademark bittersweet charm (added to by the retro on-stage lamps) but packed with an added dose of passion and poignancy. Apart from certain small moments such as the bassist’s unique power stance and the incredibly intricate yet punchy drumming on ‘Feel’, the highlight of the night certainly came with the new album’s first single ‘Driving At Night’. Arriving towards the end of the set, the track’s honesty and angst translated into a lively moshpit where every participant seemed attached to those few lyrics “there’s nowhere I’d rather be”!

Then, as the band walked off stage, all that was to follow was one final song. After a booming rendition of “Gold, gold, always believe in your soul. You’ve got the power to know, you're indestructible”, JAWS responded! The last few minutes of the night contained a non-stop sonic whirlpool of thundering drums, pleading vocals and wild limbs. Again, the crowd plunging themselves headfirst into the lyrical content and channelling any time they have felt like giving up into an uplifting frenzy of live music. This is just what 'The Ceiling' provides, raw emotions dragged through the smooth indie aesthetic, finding romance in self consciousness and joy in self destruction.

Together, the touching lyrics and hard-hitting sound create a night of indulgence that offers even a JAWS newcomer a respite from reality and rehabilitation in musical form.

JAWS are back out on tour this November - TICKETS ON SALE 03/05/19 10AM - Follow there Facebook to keep posted on all news and grab your tickets

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