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Live Review: JAWS @ O2 Institute, Birmingham (01/12/2017)

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After the success of their second album, Simplicity, Birmingham trio JAWS round up their extended tour at home in style, before getting started on the next album.

JAWS' final show of the tour at O2 Institute was memorable to say the least. Not only were JAWS on top of their game, but there has rarely been such an excitable, energetic crowd to fill the O2 Institute main room.

Returning home is always going to be an unforgetful moment for anyone, whether you're in the band or the crowd. The venue room was packed from the start, full of the most mixed age group you would have ever seen - that is until you delve further forward and spot the huge cluster of teenagers fighting for the barrier.

With support from Social Contract and Marsicans, it was pretty clear why they chose these dreamy indie bands with twinkly guitars to open their set for them.

The Friday feeling was in full swing, but the heat from the sweaty crowd was already radiating to the outskirts of the crowd and soon became suffocating immediately as you re-entered the room.

As soon as the interval music got slightly louder and Skepta's 'That's Not Me' started, phones were held high, cheers erupted through the room and the whole venue was singing along - was I missing something here? Maybe it's the intro music, or maybe they all just really love Skepta here? I was right the first time; on walks JAWS and the cheers get loud, more intense, more uncontrollable with a crazy sense of urgency. More phones go up and suddenly a huge surge of people push the crowd tighter, so close together people are having to hold their shoes above their heads - here starts the night with 'Surround You'.

JAWS are tight and consistent, relentlessly pressing through their set with barely a chance to take a breath. Each track the Brummie trio played was immediately welcomed with a big, "ahhh" of recognition that meant it clearly sat well with the audience. On the balcony there was family and friends, standing out their seats and dancing so enthusiastically security had to get them to sit down - like they even took notice though.

"You guys have so much energy, it's crazy", says lead singer, Connor, on one of the few chances he takes to chat to the crowd.

Despite the lack of communication with the crowd, it's quite obvious that it wasn't really needed anyway. JAWS were more than happy to just be home and playing to their friends and family and a huge influx of dedicated brummie fans who have probably supported them from day one.

Their set fluctuated from mood to mood, taking fans on a real ride of emotions of funky tunes that meant you couldn't stop dancing, to more deep tracks such as '17' that gave people a few minutes to calm down. One thing that stood out from their live set compared to their albums is their sudden injection of funk and groove making even the most mellow songs such as 'Work it Out' and 'Stay In' sound so much more uplifting and like the kind of track you'd play at a house party.

JAWS ended their hometown gig with an astonishing four-track encore of 'Donut', 'Toucan Surf', 'Right Infront Of Me' and 'Gold' that definitely left the crowd satisfied is they weren't already. Having played just over one and a half hours worth of tracks from their two albums, their hometown show was definitely a party for them and their fans.

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