There is always something indescribably special when a band return to their home town to perform in front of a crowd that have seem them grow from the whispers on the street to a band that is selling out in venues across the country. Maybe it’s this sense of community, this sense of entitlement, the sense ofhome that accompanies their return that makes it so unique. It was Jaws’ lead singer Connor Schofield whose assertion to a very excited and very sweaty Brummie crowd of “Birmingham: this is home“ that made this gig so very special.
It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a chaotic gig, with the crowd exploding into a moshpit to Nirvana’s ‘Smells like Teen Spirit‘ before the band even came on. That same crowd filled the majority of the tiny new venue The Oobleck, a venue that can be best described as a mix between a shed and a bat cave. The Oobleck’s intimate atmosphere, however, provided the perfect setting for Jaws’ return to the midlands after the release of their much acclaimed debut album Be Slowly.
Support band Milk Teeth provided a grunge-filled set that had the crowd forming small mosh-pits; a set best described as passion and angst bursting noise (something I mean in the nicest way possible). Fickle Friends, however, provided a poppy and infectious set, with their female vocalist casting a refreshing sound to a male-dominated scene.
However, it was Jaws who stole the night with opening song ‘Be Slowly’ causing the crowd into a frenzy that would engulf the room for the remainder of the evening. Jaws’ set list was perfectly balanced with a mix of old and new, with ‘Cameron‘ and ‘Donut‘ providing a poppy opening to the set. The band’s live performance also brought out the subtly they often drift throughout anguished guitar riffs and Schofield’s laid-back vocals that scream of brighter summer days. This was highlighted with their performance of album opener ‘Time’, which allowed the crowd to lose themselves in a hypnotic state of dance during the hallowing guitar riffs.
Some songs that arguably don’t stand out as much on their roaring debut album really came to life in front of this energetic crowd, with tracks like ‘Filth‘ and ‘Sunset‘ meeting rapturous applause and again more sweaty hypnotic moshing, sounding powerful yet nostalgic. The band concluded their set with fan-favourites ‘Friend Like You‘, ‘Surround You‘ and ‘Stay in Stay Out‘ which provided a mix of pop and grunge, dance and mosh, screams of joy and screams for more. Indeed, after Jaws’ left the stage it was possibly the shortest interval ever witnessed in gig history between the time taken for a band to leave the stage and return again for their encore, returning only a matter of seconds after the crowd screamed for ‘Gold Gold GOLLLDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!’ And they did not disappoint.
‘NYE‘ saw many members of the crowd linking arms with the strangers they found themselves plonked next to in a sentimental singsong, with this sense of sentiment at how far the band have come completely torn apart with the intensity of ‘Gold‘ that shook the building from floor to ceiling.
Indeed, it was a sad moment when the four local lads left the stage. What Jaws achieved was a gig that left you yearning for more, yet mesmerised by what you had witnessed. It is staggering the amount they have improved since their live performances only a year ago, now obtaining a sense of confidence and mastery over their well-crafted set. This was one of those gigs that you not only went home covered in bruises from, but also sweat, beer and cuts from the immensity of the chaotic but ecstatic crowd (or at least I did, anyway). Despite not being just a local band anymore, our local band, Jaws’ overwhelmed reaction to their cherished greeting from the crowd proved that there really is no place quite like home.
Words by Juliette Rowsell