Review: JAWS at the Engine Rooms

Brummie grunge trio JAWS just lit up Southampton’s Engine Rooms. I was lucky enough to join the packed and eager crowd on the second night of the band’s extended tour for Simplicity, their lauded second album.

We were treated to two exciting support acts before the main event – Chesterfield indie quartet Trash and Danish girl band Nelson Can. Trash opened the night with a breezy, melodic set that would be right at home at a sunny summer festival. Up next, Nelson Can smouldered through their powerhouse performance; lead singer Selina Gin’s vocal embodying every inch of Karen O at her mesmerising best.

Primed and ready, the crowd gave JAWS an energetic welcome. Simplicity has been out for a year now and it’s clearly earned some devoted fans in that time, and rightly so. They got stuck in straight away, dancing and singing every lyric back to the boys as they worked their way through a dreamy, reverb-laden set.

One of my favourite things about JAWS is how they capture the raw chaos of frustrated youth so effortlessly, with Connor’s reflective vocal punctuated by swaggering riffs and sweet retro synths.

The set featured plenty of anthemic singalong moments, courtesy of the crowd-pleasing What We Haven’t Got Yet and the explosive The Invisible Sleep. Pensive slow-burner 17 was goosebump-inducing, while current single Cast soared around the room, sweeping us away with its euphoric chorus. My personal highlight was the Cure-inspired Just a Boy, which has a booming intro tailor-made to get a live crowd going.

The boys also threw in a couple of favourites from the first album Be Slowly, including the spellbinding Gold, the first JAWS song I ever heard and the one that made me a fan from the off. It may have been the final song of the encore, but it definitely won’t be the last time I see this gem of a band.

We’ve re recently caught up with the band’s drummer Eddy Geach and you can read our interview here.


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