Tigers Jaw – live review at Bau Wow

Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins have had a career full of twists and turns since Tigers Jaw’s inception back in 2005. The group have gained a dedicated following in the pop punk and indie space, releasing 4 albums alongside other projects such as acoustic records and splits with acts like Balance and Composure and Code Orange. Since then, multiple line up changes and a fear of hiatus have worried the Tigers Jaw fanbase. Luckily, the duo have managed to rekindle the fire that had made the band so popular with their most recent release, Spin. The live show at Brighton’s Bau Wow saw the new tracks fitting in nicely to their emotional and chilled out performance.

The band’s live performances have always been strong, after over a decade of playing together the two original members have brought with them a professional yet laid back approach, which suited both the venue and their songs perfectly. They were backed by a set of new band members that knitted tightly into the delicate display of skilled songwriting and gripping instrumentals.

Bau Wow is only a small venue, with quite a low stage, to the extent that many in attendance were visibly struggling to see. This was paired with poor sound at the venue itself, not down to the performance of the band members but rather room size and live mixing. Nonetheless, any issues found were mostly minor, the Bau Wow was a generally welcoming venue. Neon lines of light adorned the ceiling and ran themselves across to the stage, changing colours frequently. Stage lighting was almost absent, however the unique look of the neon bars was more than adequate, and was very much suited to Tigers Jaw’s laid back, friendly atmosphere.

In terms of setlist, the band played songs spanning from all across their career. Classics from their 2010 self titled LP such as Plane vs. Tank vs. Submarine and Chemicals made an appearance. This gave older fans among the audience reason to sing along to every lyric at the top of their voice. The old was intertwined with the likes of Charmer and newer singles from Spin, such as June and Follows. “Last Time we came to Brighton we stayed another night” Walsh said halfway through, he then described that his last visit involved a trip to a local 80’s night at The Haunt.

The diversity of tracks in the set brought with it a representation of the band’s ever changing sound, from the humble heart wrench of their pop punk beginnings to the catchy and clever composition of their later indie style, the band catered for every fan. Lyrically, Tigers Jaw often utilise relatable feelings through their stories and they replicate that same emotion in their stage presence. Walsh sings in a calm but thoughtful way, whilst riffing on guitar and occasionally stepping across to fellow bandmates in heavier, more distorted instrumental sections. Collins brought a softer approach to the stage, swaying from side to side and harmonising with Walsh. She also showed her skills on the keyboard backing up Walsh’s guitar, songs like Guardian highlight her talent.

The band’s penultimate track was Hum. The track is found on their 2014 LP Charmer, the album released before the band’s short hiatus. The final track, Never Saw it Coming, brought an upbeat and joyous end to the night. Tigers Jaw displayed a relaxed and friendly performance at Bau Wow. Despite technical issues at times, the group left Brighton triumphant. Look out for them at an 80s night near you.

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