Jaws give fans across the world a little taste of what we are missing during their only show of 2020.
It would be redundant to list the facets of live music that cannot be replicated in streaming form, so let’s look at the advantages that this ‘new normal’ can offer.
– An effort-free front and centre spot in the audience, with intimate and varied camera angles.
– A chat forum where fans from across the world can voice their anticipation, mimicking the sense of community amongst those who have invested in a ticket to the stream. This is particularly prevalent from the band’s American contingency of fans, who have been starved of Jaws shows from far longer than just the one year. viewers from New York, North Carolina and the Mid-west are all voicing their excitement, without a hint of compromise that they can only be present through streaming.
– Much cheaper beer.
Perhaps we are looking for sentiment where we needn’t. But, if nothing else, 2020 has been the year of finding shards of positivity wherever possible.
As the video link kicks into action, we are greeted with ominous tones, and a stage populated only with pink light-up letters that spell J A W S. With so many artists striving for an alternative approach to their performances for streaming, it is welcoming to open on what looks, undeniably, like a conventional gig setup.
In comparison to their records, the Birmingham band adopt a more punk-inspired vocal delivery and drum bed for their live shows, over their familiar dreampop-leaning guitar riffs. Frontman Connor Schofield keeps his hood up and energy levels high for the first tracks of the evening, ‘Right in Front of Me’ and ‘Do You Remember?’, the latter of which featured on their 2019 album, The Ceiling.
Addressing the fans for the first time, Schofield thanks us for tuning into “Radio Jaws”, before guitarist Alex Hudson teases the intro to ‘Just a Boy’, with strobes adorning the track as drummer Eddy Geach joins proceedings.
Jaws compress many of their biggest crowd-pleasers into the middle of their set. ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’, ‘Think Too Much, Feel Too Little’ and ‘17’ all roll through at pace, before the foursome indulge in some nostalgia from their hometown venue.
2013 offering ‘Stay In’ may have taken on a whole new lease of relevance in 2020, but the song has always been a poignant junction in the set. Featuring on the band’s hugely popular debut Milkshake EP, the track – and the EP as a whole – exudes a sense of youthful uncertainty over a simple bed of interwoven riffs; fusing bedroom pop with shoegaze and forging the sound that captured the attention of the Jaws’ early fanbase.
It’s all too easy to say that the band have fallen through the cracks into Indie obscurity since their buzzy beginnings as part of the B-Town scene alongside Peace & Swim Deep. But these are the bands that embody the UK’s love of underdog artists and carry the most pertinence with fans; harnessing an under the radar existence that allows them to carve out their own subversive mythology.
Closing tracks ‘Be Slowly’ and ‘Gold’ can go shoulder to shoulder with some of the genre’s biggest bangers, and the band still retain the energy of a group who enjoy doing what they’re doing. As we approach almost a year with no live music circuit to speak of, this Jaws stream from their hometown is a reminder, moreso than any other stream, as to why we, as a community, have suffered so greatly without the live sector.
It’s the togetherness of joining a crowd in an intimate space, sharing a common interest with a room of strangers and really engaging with a tiny piece of cultural history. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and tonight Jaws have given their viewers just a little taste of why independent live music is such a special experience. Here’s to a speedy return.