Having played at both 2Q Derby Festivals and Y Not JAWS made their headline debut in Derby last night at a sold out Y Not Festival show at The Venue, in support of Blythe House Hospice. Storge editor Sarah Lay was there to see them.
The lights strobe across the packed audience, broken by silhouettes of arms raised and pinpricked by the glow of phone screens showing the scene ahead in miniature. Dry ice curls around the stage and stretches across the reaching front lines, while in the space at the back of the room a couple spin and twirl their eyes on each other as the music fills their heads.
JAWS have done some growing up in the four years since their debut Be Slowly, and Derby are more than ready for their matured dreamy and emotional indie as they headline the city for the first time with a sold out show at The Venue. Born out of the B-Town scene coming from Digbeth in Birmingham the band share a sound with contemporaries Swim Deep and Peace but cut through the haze of layered guitars with introspective lyrics, reminiscent of the Cure.
They’re supported tonight by Derby band The Honeymoon Suite, who with the release of their first two singles Taste-less and Poser have begun to establish themselves as solid contenders for the jangling and literary-lyriced arena of indie rock. Echoing with influences from The Smiths to Bombay Bicycle Club their live set tonight only stands to further suggest this is a band readymade for recognition beyond our city boundaries.
Already at their level are York band King No-One, who bring the glamour and age-old need for rock n roll to unsteady The Man. Shirtless under a velvet blazer and glitter warpaint across cheekbones, frontman Zach Lount talks of social injustice before easily scaling the amps and singing from on-high, one arm around the rafters. He’s an easy and versatile voice, and the band have a ambitious air about them, a hunger in their energy only emphasised by their hooks.
The main event is worth waiting for – JAWS have a very different stage presence, unassuming with an earnest almost-shyness to their steady frontline but it is no less impactful for it. Drawing from 2014’s Be Slowly and 2016’s follow up Simplicity their is a woozy haze through the melody and a cut to the honesty of the lyric. In the crowd arms are raised, shoulders clambered on and while we’re inside on a cold February night there is the warmth of a utopian festival feel to the set.
Never more so than on 17, which on record echoes up from the deep, a comedown of a track but that here becomes subtly euphoric. And that is the power of JAWS, no bravado, no bluster, no pantomime to their act at all, just an inner life laid bare against the lilt and layer of guitar.
Y Not Festival organised this show in support of Blythe House Hospice. Blythe House Hospice has been providing care and support to people of all ages for 25 years. They offer holistic care and support for anyone in the High Peak living with cancer or other serious, life threatening illness and they do some seriously amazing work.You can read more here: www.blythehousehospice.org.uk.
Find King No-One:
Find The Honeymoon Suite:
Y Not Festival returns in July – find out about this and other music festivals in Derby and Derbyshire in our guide here.