Jaws – Live @ Club Academy, Manchester REVIEW

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After my partner’s friend decided not to go, i found myself with a free ticket to the JAWS show at the academy. I’ve never listened to jaws in my life, have no real interest in their niche and had loads of work to do, so naturally i ended up going. Me and Kira perched near the back door of the venue, staying out of the way of the endless tide of slightly drunk and far too excited teenagers that clumped to the front. It was pretty interesting to see how much energy these people had – even the house music being played before the band  was sang along to, like an arena rock encore with full cast. Even the crowds at Death Grips weren’t this rabid.

10 minutes late, the band made it to the stage, swiftly kicking into a song from their latest record (i assume). You can see why people like these guys – the song’s are hooky enough, they dress weirdly enough, and the lead singer isn’t that bad looking. He reminded me a bit of Frankie Muniz. I’ll let you decide for yourself if that’s a good thing or not.

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The songs themselves weren’t really all that great – your usual indie riff over chords with some sort of vocal chant at some point. likeable enough, but not my thing. The set was solid enough however, with a good mix of deep cuts and hits. you could tell which ones were hits by how high the crowd was jumping. The mix was a bit odd – the drums were more than dominant and the lead singer’s guitar was oddly low, especially seeing as his reverb soaked strums seemed to be the backbone of all the songs. Nevertheless, the band was tight and decently energetic, and the drummer really held it all together perfectly. I can’t really slag them off too much – the crowd was loving it, the band seemed to be having a good time and even played my girlfriends favourite track from the first album.

One weird thing that happened was the encore; They just sort of left after a point. No goodbye, no thank-you, just sort of walking away from their instruments. they came back as expected a minute later but everyone in the venue was certainly puzzled by the nature of their brief departure. No-one really knew what to do for a bit. Lots of turning heads, not much applause or demand for them to come back.

Overall it was a good time. Fun to watch the crazy crowd, ignoring the odd choice of band to freak out too. If you like your indie simple, dreamy and energetic, i would recommend these guys, but not too much to anyone else. You’ll just be like me – feeling weird and a bit out of place stood at the back, making snarky comments about the shirtless guy trying his best to start a circle pit.

6/10

 

Recording Day – Performance

Being the composer of the track, lucky me got the privilege to play a wonderful Steinway and Sons piano in the Peel Hall. I’m no piano virtuoso, but I took lessons back in the day and still noodle around from time to time, so the part didn’t take TOO long to get right. The feel of the track is fairly calm and laid back, so I had the Dampening pedal on all the way through the performance – It made the sound a lot softer and less bright. I also made sure to keep a good length on the notes I was playing, as I wanted it to be as smooth as possible throughout. The natural reverb of the room was so phenomenal that I could have sat there and played all day – but we had work to do.

After some brief coaching from Me and Ben, Andreas took to the bongos to record one of the many percussive parts. We had him play fairly firmly, as the overtones of the drums came out best with harder hits. I was surprised how well the room tone played into the way the bongos sounded – it really filled out some of the space the sound was lacking. Soon after, Andreas and I warmed up our vocal chords for some on-the-spot vocal harmonies. I sang an octave below him and we overdubbed another melody line, making the whole arrangement sound pretty huge. It kinda reminded me of the Bohemian Rhapsody Choral section, but slightly flat.

Guitar wise, we chose to use a Fender deluxe (great for clean tones) and an Epiphone Les Paul (for it’s warm neck pickup). I wanted to reduce string noise, which usually lands in the higher register, so I rolled the highs off a little from the amp – This gave us a quintessentially warm and jazzy sound that worked perfectly with the drums we had already recorded. For a second guitar dub we drove the amp a little and reduced the volume on the guitar, adding a slight difference in tone that brought out more character in both tracks.

We managed to write the MIDI for the synth using an actual keyboard, meaning I once again had to channel my inner Mozart. After a bit of fumbling, we got a clean take and tidied it up in Pro-Tools.

All that’s left are the Shakers and Cabasa – fairly standard practice for both, though we used two shakers at once to bulk up the sound a little. Bish bash bosh, and we have a (mostly) finished track!