Jagwar Ma at XOYO
Mellow in style, energetic on stage, with an extensive vocal range and beats that encompass more than just the indie genre, Jagwar Ma played a short but well-received set for fans at XOYO in Shoreditch.
Promoting their debut album Howlin, the Australian trio (lead singer Gabriel Winterfield, guitarist Jack Freeman and DJ Jono Ma) delivered a lively show that incorporated the sound of techno, house, trance and pop for a compilation that’s creative, distinct and unheard of.
The opening strain of What Love reverberated through the floor of the venue so that you could feel the anticipation from the crowd mounting. Both Winterfield and Freeman swayed to the slower-paced rhythm of the introduction but when the main refrain hit, all three performers came to life, wildly jumping about to the beat as colourful spotlights flashed overhead. Part way through the number, Ma drops the bass, giving the track a techno/house quality.
The crowd immediately recognised the tune of Come and Save Me and became ecstatic as they cheered, danced and sang along. The vibe was upbeat, the tone somewhat retro and the effects eye-catching, while hundreds of white rays shone down from the spotlights and the chorus “Come and save me” is repeatedly sung, as if they were awaiting heavenly rescue.
Did You Have To was more sombre and reflected the band’s emotional depth. As Winterfield sang: “Why would you go without me…I feel the end between us…you don’t know what it feels like to know you”, his words came across heartfelt and honest, like he was sharing an experience.
After a few minutes delay, as a result of technical difficulties, Jagwar Ma returned with Let Her Go, which has the familiarity of a Beach Boys track but with more current technology reflected in the instrumentals. It’s pleasant and warming to listen to and softened any irritation at the break in flow. That Loneliness had a similar feel but the cheerful nature of this song seems quite contradictory to the content and sentiments it expresses.
Their final number The Throw, while trance-like, created the atmosphere of a rave through the enthusiasm of the performers. Freeman hammered out the beat with drumsticks, lights flashed wildly overhead and the audience jumped up and down in unison to the mix. When the band exited stage right, the crowd stayed, chanting the tune of the last number, left wanting more.
Photos: Charlotte Bruning
For further information about Jagwar Ma and future events visit here.
Watch the video for The Throw here: