Review: JAWS @ Club Academy, Manchester

The JAWS gig at Club Academy proved that the band’s effort at a sequel was a stronger one than that of the Hollywood blockbuster with the same name.

The group’s sequel – their album Simplicity – was released in late 2016 and provided the lion’s share of their set when they took to the stage on Tuesday.

Although their self-released record didn’t quite make it into the mainstream, it did receive critical success from various music blogs, and it got the approval of their Mancunian audience too.

JAWS started the proceedings with the first song from the album, I’m Just a Boy, which quite eloquently summed up what was to come.

A tropical-sounding guitar melody echoed around the room before a grungey chord clashed through, setting the tone for the rest of the song – and the rest of the night.

It was a tone that the majority of the crowd gleefully lapped up.

The heavier, jump-around-the-room-whilst-banging-your-head tracks, such as In The Morning, blended with the slow, ticking melodies throughout.

The more thoughtful tracks gave the small lungs of those with a ticket just enough of a breather not to pass out with excitement. 

ATMOSPHERE: The crowd just lapped up the group’s music

The gig did have the feel of an underage club night, anyone over the age of 20 was threatening to be the oldest person there, but that didn’t harm the fun that was had by all.

The younger audience brought with it a raucous atmosphere in a venue that seemed to suit the quartet’s sound down to a tee.

Underneath the inner workings of Manchester University’s Student Union, the enclosed walls and low ceilings meant the band’s noise reverberated boisterously around the room.

Simplicity introduced a stereotypically mature sound to the group’s roster following their debut album, Be Slowly, but both records feature music that you can not only tap your feet, but also, apparently, jump around the room to – all night long.

The band moved between their two albums seamlessly. Regardless of the song, the energetic audience were shouting back the lyrics, word-for-word, to the four-piece from Birmingham.

Highlights included Think Too Much, Feel Too Little, Surround You and new single Cast.

According to frontman Connor Schofield, the video to the latter featured footage from their last gig in Manchester.

The screams that emanated from the middle of the mosh presumably meant that many of those in attendance were enjoying their second bite at the JAWS cherry.

The support for the evening came from Kagoule. One of those acts which mystifyingly create a wall of noise from just a guitar, a bass and a drum set.

However, their sound was a refreshing – enough to make a number of people around the venue take out their phones to check if the band was on Spotify. They are.

JAWS finished off the night with perhaps their most well-known track, Gold. It came after the pre-encore respite, which didn’t feature the ‘slow hand clap until the band sprawl back onto stage’ that gigs across the country have come to expect.

Instead, thanks to a bit of Mancunian creativity, the band were treated to an audience-led rendition of Spandau Ballet’s Gold.

The band duly obliged with their own completely different version of the song, perhaps the most recognisable song of the lot. It has featured on Hollyoaks, ya know?

The audience then left, slightly red-faced, slightly exhausted, young or old, teeth showing through their massive grins.

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